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Former Olympic marathon runner retires aged 81

A Japanese marathon runner who competed at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki has finally called it quits at the age of 81.

After taking part in three marathons this year Keizo Yamada has decided it is time to scale back his activities and retire from competitive running.

Yamada, who won the Boston Marathon in 1953, bade farewell to Boston in April when he ran the event for the 19th time, a month after completing the Tokyo Marathon in a time of five hours, 34 minutes and 50 seconds.

Yamada, known as 'Iron Man', will continue with his daily 20km jogs but told Sunday's Sports Hochi newspaper "I'm not getting any younger so I won't run any more 42km (26 mile) races".

"I will carry on running for fun to stay in shape," he added.

Yamada was one of the pioneers of Japanese marathon running, along with Shigeki Tanaka and Hideo Hamamura, who won in Boston in 1951 and 1955 respectively.

Kokichi Tsuburaya put the sport on the map in Japan by taking bronze in the men's marathon at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

Japan's women have had more success than their male counterparts in recent years, with Naoko Takahashi capturing gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and Mizuki Noguchi winning the 2004 title in Athens.



see also
Athletics on the BBC
21 Apr 11 |  Athletics


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