Portland’s Kara Goucher to Run Boston in 2009

December 16, 2008

(12-16-08) From Press Release – In its 24th year as the principal sponsor of the Boston Marathon, John Hancock Financial today announced the signing of Olympian and World Championship bronze medalist Kara Goucher for the 113th running of the race on April 20, 2009.

Internationally accomplished on the track, Goucher’s debut in the marathon this past November fulfilled all expectations. Her 2:25:53 third place performance in New York City, set a number of American women’s marathon records: the fastest debut ever, the fastest time ever run on the course, and the fastest time of 2008. With those credentials, Goucher is poised for a top finish in Boston, where the last American winner was Lisa Larsen-Weidenbach in 1985, and before her Joan Benoit in 1983.

“I could not be more excited to participate in the 2009 Boston Marathon on the John Hancock Elite Team,” said Goucher. “As an American, Boston is an incredible opportunity to run a Major Marathon. The race has a history like no other and it’s legacy spans generations. I am so thankful to continue my journey toward my goal of becoming the best runner in the world here in the United States.”

With Boston champion Alberto Salazar as her coach, Goucher is certain to learn how to manage the difficult course, as did Salazar in his famous 1982 course-record duel with Dick Beardsley.

“Coach Salazar will guide me to be ready to tackle the course, and the infamous Heartbreak Hill,” added Goucher. “Winning Boston is my next big challenge, and I could not have picked a bigger stage.”

The 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials winner in the 5,000m and runner up in the 10,000m, Goucher went to the Beijing Olympic Games and in one of the hardest doubles on the track, finished ninth in the 5,000m and 10th in the 10,000m (30:55.16). At the 2007 IAAF World Outdoor Championships, she won the bronze medal in the 10,000m, becoming the first American to ever medal in that event. On the roads, in her first half marathon, Goucher handed world marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain a rare defeat by winning the 2007 Great North Run in 1:06:57, one of the fastest times in the world.

“Kara Goucher will add a new level of excitement to the 2009 Boston Marathon. Not only is she a dynamic competitor but her coach, Alberto Salazar, knows all about winning in Boston,” said Executive Director Guy Morse, of the Boston Athletic Association. “With Kara joining Ryan Hall on the John Hancock Elite Team, the 113th Boston Marathon will feature not only two of America’s finest athletes but two of our sport’s top young stars. We look forward to seeing them compete alongside the best marathon runners from around the world.”

A 2001 University of Colorado graduate and seven-time All American, the 30-year old Goucher grew up in Duluth, Minnesota. Married to professional runner and Olympian Adam Goucher for the past seven years, the couple trains with the Nike Oregon Project and resides in Portland, Oregon. The Gouchers continue to help support and promote running on the national youth level.

About John Hancock Financial and Manulife Financial Corporation

John Hancock Financial is a unit of Manulife Financial Corporation (the Company), a leading Canadian-based financial services group serving millions of customers in 19 countries and territories worldwide. Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada and in most of Asia, and primarily as John Hancock in the United States, the Company offers clients a diverse range of financial protection products and wealth management services through its extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners. Funds under management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were Cdn$385.3 billion (US$363.5 billion) as at September 30, 2007.

Manulife Financial Corporation trades as ‘MFC’ on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under ‘0945’ on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at www.manulife.com.

The John Hancock unit, through its insurance companies, comprises one of the largest life insurers in the United States. John Hancock offers a broad range of financial products and services, including life insurance, fixed and variable annuities, fixed products, mutual funds, 401(k) plans, long-term care insurance, college savings, and other forms of business insurance. Additional information about John Hancock may be found at www.johnhancock.com.

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