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  • Writer's picturePaul


I’m all about getting fit these days. I’m really getting into the swing of the whole thing, and I’m now all too ready to tell people about the gainz, and how they just doesn’t understand the grind. I hope to actually go to the gym at some point in the near future too, but gotta keep my dreams realistic til then.

But at least I’m making better progress than Japanese athlete Shizo Kanakuri, who at the 1912 Stockholm Olympic Games clocked an official marathon time of 54 years, 8 months, 6 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes and 20.3 seconds. So I’ve got a good benchmark to work towards.

Ironically, Kanakuri had set a world record time for the marathon just one year before—so what took him so long to finish the 1912 Olympic race?

Well, a hellish 18-day journey from Japan to Sweden and an unexpected heatwave in Scandinavia that year both led to Kanakuri collapsing midway through the race. Unbeknownst to the adjudicators, he was taken in by a local farming family to recover, and a few days later—somewhat embarrassed by the whole affair—he quietly returned home to Japan, leaving the puzzled Swedish officials to record him as “missing”.

“First one to move in with a Swedish farming family wins”:

The 1912 Olympic marathon (Public domain/Wikipedia)

And that was how Kanakuri’s status remained until 1967, when he was finally contacted by Swedish television and offered the chance to finish the race. He gratefully accepted the invitation, returned to Sweden and finally completed the 1912 marathon—only five decades too late.

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