Meet the 2020 John Hancock Elite Athlete Team

75 athletes. 17 countries. 1 goal.

This year’s elite field includes world-record holders, Olympians, Paralympians and 16 returning Boston Marathon champions. See how it all ends on April 20th, when the quiet town of Hopkinton once again transforms into the running capital of the world.



The best of the best are returning to Boston. The John Hancock Elite Athlete Team welcomes back 16 champions for the 2020 Boston Marathon. 

Open Champions: 
Lawrence Cherono
Lelisa Desisa
Worknesh Degefa
Desiree Linden
Yuki Kawauchi
Edna Kiplagat
Geoffrey Kirui
Caroline Rotich

Wheelchair Champions:
Manuela Shär
Daniel Romanchuk
Tatyna McFadden
Marcel Hug
Ernst van Dyk
Joshua Cassidy
Masazumi Soejima
Hiroyuki Yamamoto



The oldest. The toughest. The most iconic. A proving-ground for world-class elites and weekend warriors alike. A spectacle of determination and grit that draws a million spectators and millions in charitable donations year after year. 

The Boston Marathon is the pride of our city and our company. And John Hancock is honored to help keep it running for a 35th year. 

John Hancock Marathon Events

Banner Day

John Hancock teams up with Mayor Marty Walsh and former Boston champions to kick off Marathon season and One Boston Day with the ceremonial hanging of the first Marathon banner on Boylston Street.

John Hancock Scholars & Stars

John Hancock brings elite Kenyan runners together with Hopkinton elementary students for a pre-race pep rally in the historic town where the Boston Marathon begins.

John Hancock Elite Athlete Team Media Conference

Principal sponsor John Hancock presents the top competitors running the Boston Marathon, including champions, Olympians, Abbott World Marathon Majors event champions and top Americans. Media are provided individual interview opportunities.

Boston Marathon Race Day Press Conference

Post-race interviews with winners and contenders in all divisions begin at approximately 11:00 a.m., at the conclusion of the wheelchair division race, and last until approximately 2:00 p.m.

As principal sponsor of the Boston Marathon, John Hancock recruits, sponsors and hosts the elite team racing on Patriots’ Day. Since 1986, we’ve invited more than 800 athletes from 48 countries and awarded more than $21 million in prizes and bonuses.    

Lawrence Cherono, Manuela Schar, Daniel Romanchuk, Worknesh Degefa

Worknesh Degefa    

In her Boston Marathon debut, inexperience didn’t hold Worknesh back. The Ethiopian national marathon record holder left the pack early and didn’t look back until she broke the tape.

Lawrence Cherono

In one of the closest finishes in Boston history, Lawrence kicked into high gear down the Boylston Street home stretch, out-sprinting two-time champion Lelisa Desisa to win by two seconds.

Des Linden

Outside of running, Des loves books, whiskey, and her two dogs. Before winning the Boston Marathon, she named her new puppy “Boston.” Coincidence? We think not.

Yuki Kawauchi

Known for performing best in the cold, Yuki joked that the punishing weather at the 2018 Marathon made for “the best conditions possible.” His secret weapon? “Hot springs.”

Raised for 2020 Boston Marathon charities

As part of our sponsorship, John Hancock donates over a thousand Boston Marathon entries through our Marathon Non-Profit Program. Runners pledge to raise money for select organizations in exchange for these coveted bibs.

Applications for the 2020 race have closed. 

If you would like to receive email notifications about the application process and deadlines for the 2021 program, please submit an interest form.



The Boston Marathon would not be the storied race it is today without the dedicated storytellers who cover it. Thank you to all the media professionals helping write the latest chapter of the Boston Marathon’s 124-year history.

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John Hancock Athlete Ambassadors are running legends who represent our commitment to health, wellness, and inclusivity, attending events and engaging the community throughout the year.



Meb Keflezighi

A four-time Olympian, Meb is the only American man to have won the Boston Marathon (2014), the New York City Marathon (2009), and earned an Olympic Marathon medal (silver, 2004).    

Tatyana McFadden

A B.A.A.-invited wheelchair elite racer, Tatyana has won five women’s wheelchair crowns in Boston.    

Greg Meyer

The 1983 Boston Marathon champion, Greg is the coach of the John Hancock Employee Running Program for the Boston Marathon.

Team Hoyt 

In 2019, Rick Hoyt and Brian Lyons marked Team Hoyt’s 37th year competing in Boston, inspiring and educating us about the abilities of all people.