Have you heard the one about the Japanese runner who took 54 years to finish the Olympic marathon?

To be precise, 54 years, 8 months, 6 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes and 20.3 seconds was how long it took Shiso Kanakuri to finish the race — not that the time, which was only ever recorded as a joke, matters. It’s Kanakuri himself who is important, because when he set off on that infamous run, precisely 100 years ago in Stockholm, he was one of just two athletes representing Japan at its very first Olympic Games.

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