Letter from the Boston Athletic Association
Dear Members of the Media,
On behalf of the Boston Athletic Association, principal sponsor John Hancock Financial, and all of our sponsors and supporters, we welcome you to the City of Boston and the 121st running of the Boston Marathon.
As the oldest continually run marathon in the world, the Boston Marathon has welcomed many determined athletes from across the globe for more than a century. Since the inaugural running in 1897, this event has come to represent not only the pinnacle of road racing, but the definition of community spirit. Each Patriots’ Day, 30,000 devoted athletes cover 26.2 miles of history from Hopkinton to Boston, experiencing a supportive and energetic community every step of the way.
For some, running the Boston Marathon is an annual tradition. For others, it’s a once in a lifetime moment. For everyone alike, the Boston Marathon is an experience unlike any other sporting event in the world.
This April we celebrate the 50th anniversary of a signature moment in marathon history: it was on April 19, 1967 that Kathrine Switzer became the first woman to finish the Boston Marathon sporting an official bib number. Defying race rules at a time when women were not yet allowed to run marathons, Switzer and fellow pioneer Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb forged a path for generations to come, leading the way for more than 176,000 women who have completed the race over the past five decades.
In 2016, Ethiopia’s Atsede Baysa raced in her first Boston Marathon with the same resolve and determination that Switzer and Gibb displayed before her. Baysa returns to Boston this April aiming to defend her title, as does four-time wheelchair champion Tatyana McFadden. Undefeated in her four Boston Marathon appearances, McFadden has set a new benchmark with her continued dominance and commitment to philanthropy. Lemi Berhanu Hayle and Marcel Hug return to Boston as Champions as well.
We at the Boston Athletic Association take great pride in organizing the Boston Marathon. Yet the event would not be possible year after year without the dedicated support from so many people, in particular our 9,000 volunteers.
The 2017 Boston Marathon would also not be possible without our enthusiastic sponsors, particularly John Hancock Financial, which has provided unwavering support for the last 32 years. We would also like to thank the many state and local officials who coordinate race efforts in the eight cities and towns along the Boston Marathon route.
Thank you for joining us on what will surely be another memorable day in the storied history of the Boston Marathon.
Letter from John Hancock
Dear Members of the Media,
We want to welcome you to the City of Boston and thank you for sharing the extraordinary images and stories that make the Boston Marathon the world’s most legendary race. From celebratory starts in Hopkinton, to exciting finishes down Boylston street, you have captured the defining moments that contribute to a legacy more than a century in the making.
A race official ensuring a best-of-class experience; a screaming fan along the route; a non-profit runner raising thousands for charity; a volunteer providing water on Heartbreak Hill; an elite making a decisive move on Hereford; a champion gifting her trophy to a legend…these are the moments that time will not forget; these are the moments that make this race a celebration for everyone.
Last year, Ethiopia swept the top podium spots for the first time in Boston Marathon history. In the women’s race, Atsede Baysa, a two-time Chicago and Paris Marathon champion, relied on experience to work her way back into the lead from a 37-second deficit at the 22-mile mark. The win itself was historic, but you also captured the remarkable moment when Baysa graciously gifted her Champions’ Trophy to Bobbi Gibb, the first woman to unofficially finish the Boston Marathon 50 years earlier.
In the men’s race, you revealed how Lemi Berhanu Hayle closely cued off two-time champion Lelisa Desisa with the intention of running strategically, rather than showcasing his 2:04 marathon speed. The two men broke from a large lead pack at mile 16 and then led the race side-by-side, until Hayle put in a surge that Desisa couldn’t match. Media at the finish caught Hayle breaking the tape and leaping for joy
as he realized the magnitude of his victory.
And we cannot forget the indomitable Tatyana McFadden, representing Team MR8 and the Martin Richard Foundation, winning her fourth consecutive Boston Marathon push-rim title, and the down-to-the-wire finish of defending champion Marcel Hug as he held off Ernst van Dyk and Kurt Fearnley for the win.
We also thank you for your coverage of Team Hoyt as they completed 33 years running the race. And even though Dick Hoyt retired in 2015, Rick Hoyt continues to race and embody the dedication and perseverance it takes to go the distance and personify the team’s “Yes, you can!” attitude.
As we enter our 32nd year as principal sponsor of the Boston Marathon, we continue to value our long-standing partnership with the Boston Athletic Association and acknowledge their outstanding accomplishment of organizing and sustaining the world’s oldest continually held marathon.
Thank you for your exceptional and professional media coverage.