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Completed the marathon after 54 years. The history of the unique record of the Olympics

It is almost impossible for an unprepared person to master the marathon distance. But hardly anyone would suggest that it will take several decades to overcome 42 kilometers. To be more precise – 54 years old. That is how long it took the Japanese Shizo Kanakuri to complete the race.

There is a touching story behind the “anti-record”. The athlete was not on the road all this time. One day, Shizo failed to complete a marathon at the Olympics, which he considered an incredible shame. Many years later, he was given the chance to cross the finish line.

Kanakuri started running as a child. He grew up in a poor family, there was not enough money even to travel to school. He had to travel six kilometers one way. Perhaps this helped Shizo to become one of the best Japanese track and field athletes.

The first big tournament in his career was the 1912 Olympics. Only two athletes went from Japan. The government refused to finance athletes, so only those who saved up money went to Sweden. br>
By the way, Kanakuri did not have enough money for tickets. He was helped by classmates and his brother, who borrowed several hundred yen. The route took 18 days. The athlete sailed on a ship and traveled the entire Trans-Siberian Railway by train.

Sadzo planned more time for acclimatization, but he ended up with only a couple of days left. Trouble pursued the runner. Terrible poisoning happened from local food, and the coach came down with tuberculosis after arriving in Sweden. The situation was worsened by abnormal heat, due to which half of the participants withdrew.

By the middle of the distance, Kanakuri trudged along in the lagging group. 10 kilometers before the finish line, the Japanese ran out of water. He saw a small house near the highway and turned towards it to ask the owners for a drink.

A nice Swedish couple agreed to pour a glass of water and give them a roll. While they were going to the kitchen, Sazo lost consciousness and could not come to his senses for a long time. The runner recovered only after a few hours. The Japanese became incredibly ashamed that he let the coach and the country down. Kanakuri decided not to come to the finish line and went to the hotel.


"My heart will break with regret for the rest of my life. It was the most important day of my career, but I ruined everything. Failure teaches success. Now I will perform and work with all my might to wash away the shame. It is incredibly difficult for me to bear this burden,” Sazo wrote in his diary a day later.

The Japanese no longer spoke to anyone and quietly returned to his homeland. He continued to train and perform, trying not to remember the failure. It was known in Sweden that Kanakuri had withdrawn from the marathon, but several journalists made a story about the missing runner go viral. Jokingly, they suggested looking for an athlete who is “still running around the country looking for the finish line”.

Kanakuri was remembered in the 60s. Stockholm was then celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Olympics. Local journalists had the idea to find Sadzo and offer to complete the race. The mission was completed in 1967.

By that time, the runner was already 76 years old. He agreed to cover 10 kilometers. The Japanese started exactly from the place from which he descended more than half a century ago. It took 54 years, 246 days, 32 minutes and 20 seconds from the start of the marathon to the crossing of the finish line.


"It was a very long marathon. During the passage of the distance, I managed to get married, have six children and babysit ten grandchildren,” Kanakuri joked after the finish.

A beautiful story led to entering the Guinness Book of Records. Sazo is now considered the slowest marathon runner in history. If you want to surpass the result and take on the implementation of the plan in the near future, you will become a record holder in 2078.


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