Former Olympian, Boston Marathon Winner Thinking of Hanging Up Sneakers at 81

Published July 21, 2009

| Reuters

Japanese marathon runner Keizo Yamada has hung up his sneakers at the grand old age of 81 — although he could be tempted back to run the odd half marathon.

Yamada, who represented Japan at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics and won the Boston Marathon the following year, said the time was right for him to "scale back" on his running.

"I'm not getting any younger so I won't run any more 26-mile races," he told Sunday's Sports Hochi newspaper, adding that he still jogs 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) daily.

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

Dubbed "Iron Man," Yamada ran three marathons this year, including his 19th appearance in Boston, and completed the Tokyo Marathon in a time of five hours, 34 minutes and 50 seconds.

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

Kokichi Tsuburaya put the sport on map in the 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, Naoko Takahashi capturing gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and Mizuki Noguchi winning the 2004 title in Athens.

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