John Hancock Financial announced the U.S. Elite Team for the Boston Marathon on April 17, 2017. The team, recruited to compete with a deep international field, includes the men’s 2014 champion Meb Keflezighi, four-time Olympian Shalane Flanagan, two-time Olympic medalist Galen Rupp and two-time Olympian Desiree Linden.
Most of the top runners skipped the marathon last year due to the Rio 2016 Olympics Brazil Olympic games.
Olympians Jared Ward and Abdi Abdirahman are also in the field, as are Lindsay Flanagan, Clara Santucci (née Grandt), Shadrack Biwott, Esther Atkins and Sean Quigley. Additionally, track standout Jordan Hasay will make her marathon debut at Boston. Collectively, the 12-member John Hancock Elite U.S. Team has competed and won medals in Olympic, World and Pan American Championships.
Among the major brands, Nike and Saucony have the most athletes competing. A full list follows:
- Nike – Galen Rupp, Shalane Flanagan, Abdi Abdirahman, Jordan Hasay
- Saucony – Jared Ward, Clara Santucci, Sean Quigley
- Skechers – Meb Keflezighi, Esther Atkins
- Brooks – Desiree Linden
- Mizuno – Lindsay Flanagan
- Asics – Shadrack Biwott
“Our audiences have come to enjoy an American resurgence at the Boston Marathon in recent years, punctuated by Meb Keflezighi’s 2014 victory,” said Tom Grilk, CEO of the Boston Athletic Association. “We were very impressed with the American team’s performance at the Olympic Games in August. Our longtime partners at John Hancock Financial have done a magnificent job in assembling these top Americans, all of whom we look forward to welcoming in April.”
“We are thrilled to have such a deep and talented American field this year,” said Rob Friedman, head of sponsorship and event marketing at John Hancock. “In our 32 years of sponsorship of the Boston Marathon, we’ve always invited strong international fields and the elite American team is always ready to challenge for the prestigious Boston title. The American team has found success at the highest levels of the sport and they will certainly add excitement for spectators and fans on the course and around the globe on Patriots’ Day.”
Meb Keflezighi is a four-time Olympian and one of America’s most accomplished runners. In 2014 he broke from the lead pack early and beat the fastest elite men’s field ever assembled for the Boston Marathon to become the first U.S. male open winner since 1983. He is the only American man to have won the Boston and New York City Marathons (2009) and earned an Olympic Marathon medal (silver, 2004). Additional career highlights include winning the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon, placing fourth at the 2012 London Olympic Games Marathon and finishing second at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon.
A four-time Olympian, Shalane Flanagan recorded the fastest time ever run by an American woman on the Boston course (2:22:02) in 2014. Flanagan holds North and Central American records in the indoor 3,000m and 5,000m and in the 10K, 15K, and 25K. Her 10K American record was earned on the streets of Boston at the 2016 B.A.A. 10K. She won the bronze medal in the 10,000m at the 2008 Olympics and won the bronze medal at the 2011 IAAF World Cross Country Championships. Flanagan won the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials and was ninth in the 2012 Olympic Marathon. This year she finished third at the 2016 Trials and sixth at the 2016 Olympic Marathon in Rio de Janeiro.
Galen Rupp makes his Boston Marathon debut with two Olympic medals to his name. This year he won the bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Marathon and finished fifth in the 10,000m. At the 2012 Olympic Games, Rupp won the silver medal in the 10,000m. He holds four American records: indoor 3,000m, 5,000m and two-mile, and the outdoor 10,000m. Rupp ran his first marathon at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, winning the event in 2:11:13. A force in the 10,000m, Rupp has won the national championship in that event every year since 2009.
Desiree Linden, a two-time Olympian and the fourth fastest American marathoner of all time, returns to Boston after finishing seventh at the 2016 Olympic Marathon. A top five finisher in six Abbott World Marathon Majors, Linden narrowly missed winning Boston in 2011 by two seconds, running 2:22:38, which remains her personal best. She was also runner-up at the 2010 Chicago Marathon. Additional accomplishments include placing 10th at the 2009 IAAF World Marathon Championships, second at the 2012 and 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials and second in the 10,000m at the 2015 Pan American Games.
Jared Ward rounds out the 2016 Olympians in the Boston field. In 2015, he won the U.S. National Championship in the marathon, 25K and 20K and finished second in the half marathon. In early 2016, Ward secured a spot on the Olympic Team with a third place finish at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. At the Olympics, Ward ran conservatively in the heat and humidity and steadily moved up through the pack as other experienced runners faltered. He crossed the line in sixth place, less than a minute and a half out of medal contention.
Also on the Elite U.S. Team is four-time Olympian Abdi Abdirahman, who most recently finished third at the New York City Marathon. Abdirahman is a multiple national champion in the 10,000m, 10K, 10-mile and half marathon. He placed third in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, but did not finish at the Olympics due to injury.
Lindsay Flanagan is also on the team after setting a 2:29:28 personal best with a fourth place finish at the 2016 Frankfurt Marathon. The 25-year-old won the silver medal in the marathon for the U.S. at the 2015 Pan American Games.
Clara Santucci has a personal best of 2:29:54 from the 2011 Boston Marathon. The 2014 and 2015 winner of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Santucci also finished seventh at the 2013 Chicago Marathon and fifth at the 2014 Chicago Marathon.
Shadrack Biwott, a teammate of Galen Rupp’s at the University of Oregon and brother of elite marathoner Duncan Kibet, makes his Boston Marathon debut after finishing seventh at the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon and fifth at the New York City Marathon with a personal best time of 2:12:01.
Esther Atkins also returns to Boston where she holds her personal best time of 2:33:15. A 2014 champion of both the Tallahassee and Twin Cities Marathons, Atkins finished 11th at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.
Sean Quigley grew up a few miles south of Boston and was a seven-time All-American at La Salle University. Ninth at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials this past January, Quigley set his marathon personal best of 2:13:30 at the challenging Fukuoka Marathon in 2014.
Making her marathon debut is Jordan Hasay, an 18-time All-American at the University of Oregon. As a junior she won the silver medal in the 1500m at the IAAF World Youth Championships and finished fourth in the 1500m at the IAAF World Junior Championships in both 2008 and 2010. As a U23 competitor, she won the gold medal at the 2012 NACAC Championships in the 1500m. At the 2013 IAAF World Championships she placed 12th in the 10,000m. Hasay most recently won the U.S. 10 Mile Road Running Championships in October, finishing in 52:49. Both Hasay and Rupp are coached by 1982 Boston Marathon champion Alberto Salazar.
The complete elite international field will be announced in January.