At 26.2 miles, marathons are no small feat, even for younger athletes who are typically in peak physical condition. That’s why few marathoners last into their eighth decade, like Japanese runner Keizo Yamada, who has been running marathons for over 50 years.

However, after running three marathons this year already, the 81 year-old athlete is finally calling it quits.


“The Iron Man”, as Yamada is called, was one of the progenitors of Japanese distance running, along with Shigeki Tanaka and Hideo Hamamura. He represented Japan in the 1952 Helinski Olympics and won the Boston Marathon in 1953, with Tanaka winning the marathon in 1951 and Hamamura winning in 1955.


Yamado ran the Boston Marathon for the nineteenth time this year, and ran the Tokyo Marathon in five hours, 34 minutes, and 50 seconds.  Though he won’t run any more marathons, he plans on continuing to run 12 miles on a daily basis.

“I’m not getting any younger so I won’t run any more 42-kilometre races,” he said. “I will carry on running for fun to stay in shape.”


Rachel is a writer and tutor living in Virginia. She loves learning about other cultures and thinks we’re all a little wacky.