BOSTON, MA – John Hancock Financial will present its elite team of 32 international marathon runners from 11 countries to the media on Friday, April 12th at 10 AM at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston. All credentialed media will have the opportunity to interview elite athletes during the event. The 117th running of the race is set for Monday, April 15, 2013. UNIVERSAL SPORTS WILL STREAM THIS LIVE AND FREE ONLINE STARTING AT 10:00AM ET.

Reigning champions Wesley Korir and Sharon Cherop, both of Kenya, return to defend their titles, but will be fiercely challenged by a talented international field of Olympians, World Marathon Majors, and multiple global marathon winners of Amsterdam, Barcelona, Brussels, Cologne, Daegu, Dubai, Eindhoven, Eldoret, Frankfurt, Johannesburg, Hamburg, Houston, Istanbul, Los Angeles, Milan, New York City, Paris, Porto, Rome, Shanghai, St. Paul, Soweto, Toronto, Turin, and the U.S. Olympic Trials.

Last year Korir and Cherop battled not only one of the strongest fields ever assembled, but also blistering race day temperatures topping 85F. Korir prevailed over countryman Levy Matebo in the final mile and Cherop used past experience to surge on the final turn to win the women’s race by two seconds.

In the men’s race, challenging Korir is two-time Olympian and 2010 New York City winner Gebre Gebremariam of Ethiopia, who is again in the field after finishing third in 2011 in 2:04:53. Countryman Lelisa Desisa Benti joins Gebremariam to also pose a threat to Korir. Desisa was recently crowned champion of the Dubai Marathon in a debut time of is 2:04:45.

Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot, the 2010 Boston Marathon champion, and last year’s runner-up Levy Matebo, both of Kenya, return determined to break the tape ahead of Korir this time around. 2009 Boston Marathon champion Deriba Merga, of Ethiopia, is also in the field and has the experience needed to repeat as victor.

Top Americans Jason Hartmann and Fernando Cabada will also seek the title. Hartmann finished as top American and fourth overall last year and Cabada holds the American record in the 25K. American AbdiAbdirahman is a late drop and will not be able to run due to illness.

In the women’s race, Cherop will be chased by Amsterdam’s 2:21:09 course-record-holder Meseret Hailu Debele of Ethiopia, and Paris’ 2:21:40 course-record-holder Tirfi Tsegaye Beyene. Past Boston champion and 2012 Chicago runner-up Rita Jeptoo of Kenya, and Mexican national-record-holder Madai Pérez also will present a challenge for the Boston crown.

American Olympians Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher are also expected to be top contenders. At the London Olympic Marathon, Flanagan and Goucher finished tenth and eleventh, respectively. Flanagan is a three-time Olympian and was runner-up in her 2010 marathon debut in New York City, before winning the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon. Goucher has experience on the Boston course finishing as high as third in 2009 and fifth in 2011.

Also in attendance will be Bill Rodgers, Joan Benoit Samuelson, Greg Meyer, and Dick and Rick Hoyt.