Just seven weeks ahead of the 2014 Boston Marathon, John Hancock Financial announced on Monday changes to the John Hancock Elite Athlete Team, most notably the addition of Americans Ryan Hall and Abdi Abdirahman.
Kenya's Mathew Bowen has also been added to the elite team, while Moses Mosop (Kenya), Dathan Ritzenhein (USA) and Australian Jeffrey Hunt were all forced to withdraw because of various injuries and training setbacks.
Ryan Hall will be making his fourth appearance at the Boston Marathon, and his first since 2011, when he finished fourth. Hall also finished in fourth place in 2010, and was third in 2009. His 2011 time was 2:04:58, which is the fastest marathon ever run by an American.
"I am incredibly excited to participate in this year's Boston Marathon," says Hall. "After watching the tragic events that unfolded at last year's race and knowing the resilience of both the running and Boston communities, I knew this year's race was going to be a run of redemption that I am eager to be a part of. This year's race will undoubtedly be the most historically significant marathon in Boston's storied history."
For Abdi Abdirahman, this will be his debut at Boston, having to withdraw from the 2013 race with the flu. Abdirahman is a four-time Olympian, most recently representing the U.S. in the marathon at the 2012 Summer Games (he was forced to drop-out halfway through the race with a knee injury).
Mathew Bowen, husband to 2012 Marathon champion Sharon Cherop, who will also compete in this year's running, recently ran a 2:10:57 at the Rennes Marathon in France.
Moses Mosop, who ran a blistering 2:03:06 to finish second at the 2011 Boston Marathon, was forced out this year due to a "knee injury" -- "Boston has a special place in my heart and deserves my best. Due to a knee injury my training has suffered and I am not at the top of my game, yet. I hope to join the Boston Marathon next year, as watching this race is not what I am about."
With Dathan Ritzenhein's withdrawal -- "A groin injury this winter has kept me from doing the training it takes to run with the best in the world." -- the U.S. men's elite team now consists of Ryan Hall, Abdi Abdirahman, Meb Keflezighi, Brett Gotcher, Jason Hartmann, Nicholas Arciniaga and Jeffrey Eggleston
A U.S. runner has not won the Boston Marathon since Greg Meyer in 1983. The last American women's champion came in 1985 (Lisa Larsen Weidenbach).
The 118th running of the Boston Marathon is set for April 21, 2014.