This Japanese Runner Took 54 Years To Complete His Olympic Marathon

Shizo Kanakuri, was a celebrated marathon runner in Japan. He qualified for the 1912 Stockholm Olympics and this is where the story gets interesting.

Kanakuri had a tough journey, traveling all the way from Japan to Stockholm. A tiring journey coupled with the local food not suiting him had Kanakuri especially ill. The fact that temperatures were unusually high made matters worst. This resulted in Kanakuri losing consciousness during the race. He was picked up, mid-race, and cared for by a local family.

An embarrassed Kanakuri returned to Japan without notifying the Swedish officials who presumed him missing. This presumption lasted for almost 50 years until the Swedish authorities realized he was hale and hearty and had participated in several other marathons since. In 1967, he was offered to come back to Sweden and complete his unfinished run. Kanakuri accepted and finished the race with a timing of 54 years, 8 months, 6 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes and 20.3 seconds.

“It was a long trip. Along the way, I got married, had six children and 10 grandchildren,” he remarked.