KEFLEZIGHI, HALL, ABDIRAHMAN LEAD AMERICAN CHARGE FOR BOSTON MARATHON
By Chris Lotsbom
(c) 2013 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

(08-Jan) -- Moments ago, John Hancock Financial announced the elite American field for this year's 117th Boston Marathon, to be run on April 15, Patriots' Day in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Among the newly named entrants are all three members of the 2012 United States' Men's Olympic Marathon team: Meb Keflezighi, Ryan Hall, and Abdi Abdirahman. Since Olympic teammates Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher, had already been announced, the Boston race will five of the six USA Olympic Marathon athletes.

"The Boston Marathon is an international event with deep American roots. We are proud to welcome America’s finest marathoners this year --Olympians and rising stars alike-- to challenge some of the best runners that the world has to offer," said Boston Athletic Association executive director, Tom Grilk, in a statement.

Both Keflezighi and Hall are veterans of the Hopkinton-to-Boston route, having run two and three times, respectively. Keflezighi was the top American in 2006, and Hall holds the fastest time ever recorded by an American with his 2:04:58, fourth place finish in 2011.

"Boston, as with so many other marathoners, holds a special place in my heart and mind," said Hall, 30. "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."

For Hall, Boston will be the first marathon since teaming up with famed coach Renato Canova in December. Between his experience and Canova's expertise, Hall feels 2013 may be the year he breaks the tape first on Boylston Street.

"I believe that each time I race Boston I get to know the course better and learn how to race it smarter," he reasoned. "I am sure that this year's race will be my best yet."

Keflezighi, the fourth place finisher at last year's London Olympic Marathon, hopes his third Boston Marathon brings good luck and a laurel wreath as well.

"As I come towards the end of my running career, there are still a few goals I want to achieve," said the 37-year-old, whose achievements include an Olympic silver medal and an ING New York City Marathon title. "Winning the Boston Marathon is one of them."

At 36, the four-time Olympian in Abdirahman will make his Boston debut, seeking to become the first American man in 30 years to win.  

"I'm so happy to be running the Boston Marathon this spring," said Abdirahman. "It is one of the greatest and oldest marathons in the world and it has long been a dream of mine to run here."

All three men had planned to run the storm-cancelled ING New York City Marathon last November.  Hall withdrew last August after dropping out of the Olympic Marathon with tightness in his legs.

Also lining up in Hopkinton will be Jason Hartmann, the top American at last year's race (fourth place), and Fernando Cabada, who boasts a 2:11:53 personal best.

Among the American women named Tuesday are Serena Burla, Stephanie Rothstein, and Alissa McKaig. All three have personal bests of under 2:32:00, with Burla owning the fastest at 2:28:27.

"This year we are proud to include an exceptionally talented U.S. Team in our elite field," said Rob Friedman, who heads up sponsorship and event marketing at John Hancock.  "The fans who line our course each spring have embraced and adopted runners from all over the globe year after year and it’s always nice for them to also cheer on athletes from the home team."