John Hancock Financial today announced the Elite USA Team for the 118th running of the Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014. The exceptional U.S. team, recruited to compete with a deep international field, includes Desiree Davila Linden, Shalane Flanagan, Amy Hastings, Serena Burla, Adriana Nelson, Dathan Ritzenhein, Meb Keflezighi, Brett Gotcher, Jason Hartmann, Nick Arciniaga and Jeffrey Eggleston.
Each member of the team has competed for the U.S. in Olympic or World Championships and brings strong credentials to compete in Boston.
Desiree Davila Linden returns to Boston ready to race and seek the title. In 2011, she narrowly missed winning by two seconds, as she set a 2:22:38 American course record. In 2012, Linden finished second at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials and most recently placed fifth at the 2013 Berlin Marathon.
“It is an honor to be included in the 2014 John Hancock elite field,” said Linden. “The Boston Marathon was home for both my debut and my breakthrough marathon. It seems to be an atmosphere that brings out the best in me, and I’m looking forward to being back out there in 2014. In light of the tragic events in 2013—and I’m not unique in this respect—the Boston Marathon brought out the best in so many runners on the course that day as they showed both courage and compassion. I look forward to sharing the road and the journey in 2014 as we run together from Hopkinton to Boston and show the strength and resilience of the running community.”
Three-time Olympian Shalane Flanagan, who finished fourth last year in Boston, also returns for the win. In 2012 she won the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in an event record of 2:25:38 and finished tenth at the 2012 London Olympic Marathon. Flanagan holds North and Central American records in the indoor 3,000m and 5,000m and in the outdoor 10,000m. She won the bronze medal in the 10,000m at the 2008 Olympics, placed second in her 2010 marathon debut in New York City, and won the bronze medal at the 2011 IAAF World Cross Country Championships.
“In my career, I’ve never felt my running take on a more personal meaning than it will to prepare for this year’s race,” said Flanagan. “The 2014 Boston Marathon will be run with overwhelming honor, passion and joy. Each step we take closer to the finish line is a victory in and of itself. It’s hard to express what it means to return this particular year to the place where I grew up and compete. In one word, I guess it would be •pride’. I and many in the field will be fueled by those who were affected by the tragedy and will be running for those who can not.”
Olympian Amy Hastings will join Linden and Flanagan for her Boston debut. After winning the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials 10,000m, Hastings finished 11th in the event at the London Olympic Games. She then competed in the event at the 2013 IAAF World Championships 10,000m and finished 14th. Additional marathon highlights for Hastings include fourth at the 2012 Olympic Trials Marathon and runner up in her exceptional marathon debut in Los Angeles.
Serena Burla is in the field after placing second at the competitive Amsterdam Marathon this past October. In 2012 she finished third at the Seoul International Marathon and has been runner up at the U.S. Half Marathon Championships twice. Burla is a cancer survivor and was diagnosed with a malignant soft-tissue tumor in her hamstring in 2010. After radical surgery and a positive recovery, Burla has defied the odds to again perform as one of America’s best marathoners.
Adriana Nelson had an impressive 2013 as she won the U.S. Half Marathon Championships and finished top American at the New York City Marathon. In 2007 she debuted at the marathon distance and narrowly missed winning in Chicago by three seconds.
In the men’s field, three-time Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein joins the John Hancock Elite Athlete Team to make his Boston debut. Ritzenhein, who is coached by 1982 Boston Marathon champion Alberto Salazar is the third fastest U.S. marathoner of all time. Career highlights for Ritzenhein include finishing ninth at the 2008 Olympic Marathon, winning the bronze medal at the 2009 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships and finishing 13th at the 2012 Olympic Games 10,000m.
“I am very excited to be running the 2014 Boston Marathon,” said Ritzenhein. Like all serious marathoners, Boston to me is •the race’, and I can’t wait to toe the line on April 21st. Growing up with idols such as Greg Meyer and Alberto Salazar makes me want to add my name to this historic race.”
Meb Keflezighi, a three-time Olympian, joins Ritzenhein and brings experience to the team. He placed fifth in Boston in 2010 and third in 2006. Keflezighi finished fourth at the 2012 London Olympic Marathon after winning the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon. Other major accomplishments include winning the silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympic Marathon and winning the 2009 New York City Marathon.
“It is always a great honor to compete in the prestigious Boston Marathon,” said Keflezighi. This year’s race will have special significance for all of us because of the tragedy that occurred last year. I am honored to be amongst the 36,000 runners that are running the 2014 Boston Marathon to demonstrate the spirit of the marathon. I am training hard and smart to be healthy and fit enough to compete for a victory. Let’s visualize our goals in our months of training and race with a united purpose on April 21st.”
Bret Gotcher is making his Boston Marathon debut and is another strong contender in the field. Gotcher finished fifth at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. He was top American at the 2013 Wharf to Wharf race, is a past national champion in the 20K, and has competed for the U.S. on World Cross Country and Half Marathon teams. Gotcher won the gold medal at the 2003 Junior Pan American Games 10,000m and earned All American status at Stanford University.
Always the strategist, Jason Hartmann knows how to run the challenging Boston terrain and take on the best runners in the world. Hartmann finished fourth in 2012 and 2013. “I had the opportunity to become part of the historic legacy the past two years,” said Hartmann. “And now I look forward to running the Boston Marathon to improve upon my past performances. My expectations are for me to leave it all out on the course, no matter the elements.” Hartmann won the 2009 Twin Cities Marathon and has competed for the U.S. on World Cross Country and Half Marathon teams.
Nick Arciniaga and Jeffrey Eggleston round out the men’s U.S. elite team. Arciniaga recently won the U.S. Marathon Championships held this past October at the St. Paul Twin Cities Marathon. He is a past member of the U.S. World Championships Marathon team, finished eighth at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon, was runner up at the 2011 Houston Marathon, and third at the 2010 San Diego Marathon. Arciniaga brings experience to the Boston Marathon course, having finished tenth in 2008.
Jeffrey Eggleston was the top American finisher at the 2013 IAAF World Championships Marathon in Moscow, where he placed 13th overall. Last year he also won the Chicago Half Marathon. Eggleston was runner up at the 2010 U.S. Marathon Championships, second at the 2012 Pittsburgh Marathon and winner of the 2012 Woodlands Marathon.
“The group of U.S. runners which has committed to the 2014 Boston Marathon is exceptional,” said Tom Grilk, B.A.A. Executive Director. “The team reflects both principal sponsor John Hancock’s recruitment success in assembling the best available Americans, and the athletes’ desire to run Boston in what certainly will be a special year for the race and the City.”
“It is fitting that we present the strongest American field in our nearly 30 years of sponsorship of the Boston Marathon. These exceptional athletes personify the meaning of strength, commitment and support. These are the same attributes that so many in our community displayed last April 15 and have continued to demonstrate in the weeks and months since,” said Rob Friedman, head of Sponsorship and Event Marketing at John Hancock.
The complete John Hancock international field for the 2014 Boston Marathon will be announced in late January. This year marks the 29th year of John Hancock’s landmark sponsorship of the legendary race. For additional information about the Elite Athlete Program and sponsorship, please visit www.johnhancock.com/bostonmarathon/sportspartnerships.html or follow us @jhboston26 on Twitter.