BOSTON (CBS) – The Elite USA Team for the 117th Boston Marathon was announced on Tuesday, with some familiar faces returning to Boston.
John Hancock Financial, the main sponsor of the Boston Marathon, announced that Ryan Hall, Meb Keflezighi, Abdi Abdirahman, Jason Hartmann, Fernando Cabada, Serena Burla, Stephanie Rothstein, and Alissa McKaig will make up the Elite USA Team, joining previously announced Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan in taking on a deep international field.
This will be the fourth Boston Marathon for Hall, a two-time Olympian who set an American course record in 2011 with a time of 2:04:58 — good for a fourth place finish. He finished third in 2009 and fourth in 2010, and is looking to finish with an even better time in 2013.
“Boston, as with so many other marathoners, holds a special place in my heart and mind,” said Hall. “I go back this year eager to experience all that Boston has to offer: the epic crowds, the challenging course, but mainly to be a part of and make history. Having been a part of the fastest marathon ever run on the planet in 2011, I know what is possible at Boston and what can be done on that course. I believe that each time I race Boston I get to know the course better and learn how to race it smarter. I am sure that this year’s race will be my best yet.”
Keflezighi, a three-time Olympian that placed fifth in Boston in 2010 and third in 2006, is looking for a Boston win to add to his 2009 New York City Marathon medal.
“As I come towards the end of my running career, there are still a few goals I want to achieve; winning the Boston Marathon is one of them,” said Keflezighi. “The fans and crowds in Boston are amazing! Both times I’ve run the Boston Marathon I was cheered on enthusiastically. I hope the third time is the charm!”
On the women’s side, rising stars Serena Burla, Stephanie Rothstein and Alissa McKaig will join Goucher and three-time Olympian Flanagan.
Burla brings a very compelling story to Boston. The All-American at Missouri University was diagnosed with a malignant soft-tissue tumor in her hamstring in 2010, and after radical surgery and a positive recovery, defied the odds to finish runner up at the 2011 U.S. Half Marathon Championships.
Gallery: 116th Boston Marathon Elite Race
Rothstein recently finished third in the 2012 Honolulu Marathon, while McKaig finished eighth at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in only her third marathon.
The complete John Hancock international field for the 2013 Boston Marathon will be announced in mid-January.
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.