Hayato Date has run his way into the record books after being officially crowned as the fastest person to complete a full marathon while wearing geta wooden clogs.
Guinness World Records has recognized Date’s time of 5 hours, 35 minutes, 31 seconds from the 2016 Osaka Marathon.
According to The Ehime Shimbun, 41-year-old Date from the town of Uchiko in Ehime Prefecture is an avid runner and often completes a marathon in under 3 hours when wearing shoes. At the 2011 Osaka Marathon, he decided to entertain the roadside crowd by running while wearing geta and hakama traditional Japanese pants as part of a costume depicting the main character from Soseki Natsume’s classic novel Botchan.
Date applied to have Guinness establish a new category of running a marathon while wearing geta, but was turned down because the global authority on record-breaking refused to accept his time, citing a lack of evidence.
Fast-forward to the race’s 2016 edition. According to The Yomiuri Shimbun, Date ran with three friends who took turns filming him and snapping photos of him with road signs and other landmarks along the course. This time, Guinness recognized Date’s feat.
The Ehime Shimbun reported that Date’s wooden footwear are made by a company in Uchiko that specializes in handcrafted geta and lacquered high clogs. He wears a specially ordered large size that ensures his heels do not stick out over the back.
Though Date is unlikely to challenge the world marathon record of 2 hours, 2 minutes, 57 seconds, he believes his geta offer an advantage that shoes packing the latest technology cannot.
“They’re light and durable. I can tell from the sound the geta make on the ground if my running form is good,” he told the Yomiuri.