Man runs 52 marathons in 52 days

Kyodo News

The Tokyo Marathon produced at least one record, although not by any of the “elite” runners, on Sunday when a 65-year-old Saitama man completed the race as his 52nd full marathon in as many days.

Akinori Kusuda eclipsed a Guinness world record in the marathon, which saw about 35,000 runners take part, putting a successful end to a bid that the former top college runner began Jan. 30 on a makeshift course in a park near his home.

About 120 people, including his jogging mates, helped keep Kusuda’s times in his daily 42.195-km runs, which started at 7 a.m. every day, in the leadup to Sunday’s memorable race.

The previous mark was 51 marathons in 51 days, set by a 48-year-old Italian man nearly a year ago.

“I don’t feel anything special with this record,” Kusuda said after finishing the race Sunday.

“But I’d be pleased if some runners are inspired by what I’ve just done. And I can’t find the words to describe my gratitude to all the people who have helped me.”

Kusuda and his supporters will soon file for recognition of his feat by Guinness World Records.

Kusuda was a representative runner of the “ekiden” college race between Tokyo and Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture, when he was a student at Rikkyo University in Tokyo. He resumed running after turning 50.