John Hancock Financial announced today that 2018 champions Yuki Kawauchi of Japan and Des Linden of the United States have been contracted to run the 2019 Boston Marathon. Reigning wheelchair division champions Tatyana McFadden of the United States and Marcel Hug of Switzerland are also set to return.
The race is owned and organized by the Boston Athletic Association, but the elite field is funded and directly managed by John Hancock.
"At Boston this year, Desiree Linden, Yuki Kawauchi, Tatyana McFadden and Marcel Hug proved freezing rain and driving wind were no match for the opportunity to be crowned Boston Marathon champions," John Hancock Chief Marketing Officer Barbara Goose said. "Their perseverance and tenacity led the way for thousands of runners to realize their own dreams. We look forward to welcoming back our champions, as well as all participants and spectators for another historic race on Patriots' Day."
The 2018 edition of the race was held in atrocious conditions, with driving rain and near-freezing temperatures. The race was more of a survival test than a traditional endurance race. Linden's mark of 2:39:54 was the slowest women's winning time in 40 years, while Kawauchi's time of 2:15:58 was the slowest men's winning time in 42 years.
The Boston Marathon is part of the Abbott World Marathon Majors and the third-largest marathon in the United States after the TCS New York City Marathon and Bank of America Chicago Marathon. It is also the oldest marathon in the world and has been contested 122 times.