Nothing signals the start of spring like the Boston Marathon. If you’ve been anxiously awaiting Patriots’ Day, you’re not alone. Each year, runners and fans around the city and globe gear up for the world’s oldest running marathon. And each year, John Hancock surpasses expectations with new features and ways to participate in the event.
So, in celebration of Boston’s big day, here are five things you need to know about this year’s marathon.
The theme is “Together Forward”
The 2018 Boston Marathon theme is two-fold, focusing on the runners’ goals to move each other forward in the race and representing John Hancock’s commitment to move the city toward a brighter future. “More than a theme, it’s a rallying cry,” proclaims the John Hancock site. “While we may run as individuals, we all triumph together.” The #TogetherForward hashtag is your social media link to take part in the weekend’s excitement by staying up to date on race news, tracking the marathon’s progress, taking part in the Expo, and engaging with the runners.
The Expo moves to Seaport
Usually held at the Hynes Convention Center in Back Bay near the finish line, the John Hancock Sports and Fitness Expo is moving a few miles east to the Seaport World Trade Center. The Expo was previously held there in 2012. “We’re excited for people coming to the city to see another part of Boston,” says Jack Fleming, COO of the Boston Athletic Association. “A lot has changed in six years. Seaport is more vibrant with new restaurants and buildings; there’s a lot to see and do.”
Free and open to the public, the annual pre-race Expo is expected to draw more than 100,000 attendees, including the 30,000 marathon participants. A complimentary shuttle service provided by John Hancock will transport visitors from Back Bay to Seaport. As part of the organization’s commitment to sustainability, John Hancock will be offsetting the greenhouse gas emissions of the shuttles through support of waste-based renewable fuel initiatives. The Expo will open on Friday, April 13 at 11 a.m. and run until Sunday, April 15 at 6 p.m.
Everyone can contribute to a Marathon mosaic
Make marathon history by helping to create the John Hancock visual mosaic. Any photos posted to Instagram using the hashtag #TogetherForward during marathon weekend will be color-treated and applied to a mosaic wall at the John Hancock Expo booth. The final image will show Sergeant Jose Sanchez, a 2017 Boston Marathon finisher, raising the American flag while crossing the finish line. Sanchez is a former Marine who was injured during combat in Afghanistan in 2011, resulting in the amputation of his lower left leg. The mosaic will be completed on Sunday of Expo weekend with Sanchez himself placing the last tile.
Expo attendees who use the slightly modified hashtag #TogetherForwardExpo will not only add to the mosaic, but also receive a copy for themselves printed on site. “We want everyone to leave their mark on the marathon,” says Ellie Malloy, director of sponsorship marketing at John Hancock. “Runners and fans should feel like they own a little piece of Boston.”
The elite race will be more exciting than ever
The 2018 John Hancock Elite Athlete Team is one of the most accomplished groups of marathoners to ever compete in the race. Six champions return, as well as Olympians, World Champions, and Abbott World Marathon Majors winners. Combined, the field has won more than 100 global marathons. Click here for the full stats on the team.
“We have invited the best runners in the world to compete on a championship, challenging course,” says Mary Kate Shea, senior director of sports marketing and sponsorship at John Hancock. “This team is super tough, super talented, and will race well with each other. We can’t wait to see who will win.”
Donations and fundraising will hit an all-time high
Last year, more than a thousand runners raised $12.3 million for community-based organizations through the John Hancock Non-Profit Program. This year, more than a thousand runners are raising funds for 132 official Non-Profit Partners as they gear up for Marathon Monday. Their stories and the causes they support are featured on the 2018 Boston Marathon CrowdRise page.
As in previous years, more than 100 John Hancock employees are raising funds for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston and the Ron Burton Training Village. Children from the Boys and Girls Club will also be dining with runners the Wednesday before the marathon at a special pasta party, giving them inspiration and motivation for Monday’s epic run.
“The evolution of the program is remarkable. We’ve seen a 55 percent increase in fundraising since 2013,” says Ashley Wheeler, program manager at John Hancock. “Powered by the generosity of family and friends, runners are expected to set another fundraising record this year.”
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