BOSTON (CBS) – 2012 Boston Marathon champions Sharon Cherop and Wesley Korir of Kenya will be defending their crowns come April.

Both of last year’s winners will be attempting to make it back-to-back wins at the 117th running of the race, John Hancock Financial announced on Tuesday.

2013 will mark Korir’s fifth year of marathon running with his main goal to defend his Boston title.

“Winning the Boston Marathon was the biggest accomplishment of my life and the win placed me in a distinguished group of champions who are legendary,” Korir said of his 2:12:40 finish in 2012. “The entire world recognizes and respects the Boston Marathon, and I am proudly a Boston Marathon champion forever.”

Gallery: 116th Boston Marathon Elite Race

Cherop will look to defend her crown after winning 2012 by just two seconds over fellow Kenyan Jemima Sumgong.

“I will be in Boston to try to win again and perform at my best level,” said Cherop. “I know that there are some of the best athletes in the world competing in Boston in 2013, but I’ll be ready for the big race. The course is very hard because there are a lot of hills and you are running without pacers, but I like this course because it’s also making a natural selection among the athletes.”

“It is with great pride that we welcome back Wesley Korir and Sharon Cherop to defend their titles at this year’s Boston Marathon,” said Tom Grilk, Boston Athletic Association Executive Director. “Their insightful and tactical races in challenging conditions last year will be remembered for years to come as part of Boston’s rich tradition of excellence. Thanks to John Hancock Financial Services, both of these great champions have the opportunity to add another Boston Marathon win to their distinguished careers.”

The 117th running of the Boston Marathon is on April 15, and marks the 28th year of John Hancock’s landmark sponsorship of the legendary race.

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