HOPKINTON, MA – April 13, 2017 – John Hancock brought 2012 men’s champion Wesley Korir, 2015 women’s champion Caroline Rotich, and several other elite Kenyan athletes to a pre-marathon rally with nearly 600 students from Hopkinton’s Elmwood Elementary School. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the first time John Hancock brought Kenyan athletes to the school for this event.
The rally, part of John Hancock’s ‘Scholars and Stars’ program, gives students an opportunity to meet Kenyan athletes and learn first-hand about Kenya’s culture and the lifestyles of the country’s talented marathon runners. Kenyan athletes have built a strong tradition at the Boston Marathon and the athletes that have visited the Elmwood Elementary School over the years have won a combined 33 Boston Marathon titles.
The Kenyan runners at the event were led by Korir, who said, “Having participated in this event before, I can say that we marathoners appreciate having the opportunity to share our culture, experience and love of running with the children of Elmwood School. We enjoy the warmth and excitement with which we are received. This is truly a special event.”
Joining Korir and Rotich were 10 other elite runners from Kenya, all of whom will participate in the 121th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 17, 2017.
“For twenty-five years the Hopkinton clinic has been part of John Hancock’s overall commitment to inspire an interest in other cultures and a love of running and fitness,” said Rob Friedman, head of Sponsorship and Event Marketing, John Hancock. “This event also serves as an opportunity to thank the elite Kenyan athletes who have represented their country well at the Marathon. You can always feel the excitement and energy as the children cheer on these world-class runners.”
The annual event began in 1992 when 150 Elmwood students welcomed three-time Boston Marathon champion Ibrahim Hussein and his Kenyan teammates. Since the program’s inception, Hopkinton school officials have documented a marked increase in participation in their interscholastic track and cross-country teams, which now are among the most competitive in the state. More than 12,000 students, teachers, administrators and other Hopkinton community members have participated in the event since it began.
“This event is always met with great anticipation and is a highlight of the school year at Elmwood School,” said Hopkinton Superintendent Dr. Cathy MacLeod. “The opportunity to meet the elite Kenyan athletes provides a unique and inspiring experience for all students to a make a direct connection from the start in their home town to the finish line in Boston.”