The April Fool Archive

The 26-Day Marathon    (April Fool's Day - 1981)

The Daily Mail ran a story about an unfortunate Japanese long-distance runner, Kimo Nakajimi, who had entered the London Marathon but, on account of a translation error, thought that he had to run for 26 days, not 26 miles.

The Daily Mail showed pictures of Nakajimi running and reported that he was still somewhere out on the roads of England, determined to finish the race. Supposedly he had been spotted occasionally, still running.

The translation error was attributed to Timothy Bryant, an import director, who said, "I translated the rules and sent them off to him. But I have only been learning Japanese for two years, and I must have made a mistake. He seems to be taking this marathon to be something like the very long races they have over there."

More content from the Hoax Museum:


OMG that is a good one. Once my friends and I had to run the 12 mile run for a charity anyway we ran for 12 hours around the city. No wonder we didn't see anyone else from our clas. We were in 7th grade! LOL!
Posted by Nicole  on  Wed Mar 31, 2004  at  10:43 PM
I thought this april fools story was hilarious! I wonder if he really did run for 26 days...
Posted by claire  on  Thu Apr 01, 2004  at  12:06 PM
He didn't run for 26 days, because he never existed. You are a classic example of someone who is not a critical thinker, and therefore, a prime candidate for a hoax yourself.
Posted by Brent  on  Thu Apr 01, 2004  at  06:50 PM
Nakajimi isn't even a name in Japanese. Nakajima, however, is.
Posted by Yumi  on  Fri Apr 02, 2004  at  02:05 PM
So you think it was funny !
Posted by Kimo Nakajimi  on  Sat Apr 03, 2004  at  02:06 AM
A real story coming out of the Stockholm marathon at the Olympics in 1912 involved a Japanese runner named Kanikuri, who simply disappeared during the race. Nobody had any idea of what became of him until 50 years later, when Kanikuri finally appeared to explain how and why he went AWOL. He was about halfway through the marathon, when he took some well-meaning spectators up on their offer to stop for a drink. Embarrassed by his lack of discipline, Kanikuri abruptly hopped on a tram and left for home without a word to anyone.
This has really happened!!! In Sweden years after the olympics, people still claimed they had seen him, still running.
Posted by nello  on  Sat Aug 14, 2004  at  08:42 AM
That is the typical psuedo-xenophobic drivel that only a paper like the Daily Mail would deem intelligent and amusing.
Posted by K  on  Thu Sep 09, 2004  at  06:33 PM
I agree with K, there is a touch of xenophobia to this which is entirely consistent with the Daily Mail.
Posted by ethan  on  Thu Mar 17, 2005  at  03:42 AM
Actually, the Japanese are indeed avid sports persons who have fielded some world class distance runners, especially women's marathoners who have done well in the Olympics. This is such a clever ruse, I'm going to use a parody of it for my April newsletter. Three cheers for the Daily Mail.
Posted by Larry Librarian  on  Tue Mar 22, 2005  at  10:21 AM
to ethan and K, lol do u even know what xenophobia is? obviously not, but its funny listening to people who try to use words that are above them. I personaly think that joke was funny and quite original. cheers
Posted by a touch of sarcasm  on  Tue Mar 29, 2005  at  06:47 AM
Everyone knows that xenophobia is the fear of xenomorphs.
Posted by Corporal Hicks  on  Wed Mar 30, 2005  at  06:18 AM
To Corporal Hicks: xenophobia is not fear of xenomorphs, my friend, but is fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners. I have no comments to offer in what the Daily Mail has against foreigners, though, as I don't read it. And even the most gullible wouldn't believe that a race can last as long as 26 entire days.
Posted by Amit Parekh  on  Thu Mar 31, 2005  at  10:23 PM
Hmm what are you smoking...It is the fear of strangers
Posted by Mizzao  on  Sat Apr 02, 2005  at  09:14 AM

Perhaps you have not read of the famous exploits
of Ellen Ripley? Study, and you shall learn more of what I speak. Her discoveries have been featured in many films, as well.


Corporal. Hicks
Posted by Corporal Hicks  on  Sun Apr 03, 2005  at  10:40 AM
Amit - 26 days running. Forget it! Running has no real skills.

Most nationalities on Earth cannot believe that a <u>single<u> game can last 5 (Yes, five) days - those who in the 'know' call it <strong>Cricket!<strong> Brilliant game as well and it does not take much to learn the rules - just real skill.
Posted by TrickyDicky  on  Sun Apr 03, 2005  at  12:45 PM
All this talk of xenomorphs has me wantin' to go on a bug hunt.

Hicks, some of these folks need to get out a bit more...
Posted by Private Hudson  on  Wed Apr 06, 2005  at  08:55 AM
Does anybody know what K meant by PSUEDO-xenophobic drivel?
Is he saying it's drivel because it's not GENUINELY xenophobic?!
Posted by David  on  Sat Apr 23, 2005  at  10:36 AM
why you people obbsessively and furiously write comments is unbeknownst to me. let the story be! it was an april fools joke for one, and secondly it is funny!! thirdly, stop trying to make a mountain out of a molehill! there's no xenophobia contained within the lines of this elaborate hoax, though i sense a little coming through from these disatrous comments. honestly guys!! just accept it and move on!!
Posted by cammo  on  Tue Jun 21, 2005  at  02:21 AM
it is actually pretty funny that you people care enough to become defensive...
Posted by wow  on  Sat Apr 01, 2006  at  11:28 AM
I have aibohphobia; the fear of palindromes.
Posted by luis  on  Sat Apr 01, 2006  at  12:25 PM
I think it's great how much 14 year-olds running internet forums can get people so worked up, even on an April Fools website. Now that's funny.
Posted by Agoraphobe  on  Sun Apr 02, 2006  at  07:52 AM
Signed up for a race
There's a translation error
I ran 26 days!
Posted by J  on  Wed Nov 22, 2006  at  12:37 AM
Wait... Is it that the Daily Mail fooled readers or that the japanese runner was fooled?
Posted by Katie  on  Sun Apr 01, 2007  at  07:58 AM
I'm pretty sure that the hoax was done by the Daily Mail. The Japanese runner didn't exist - it was just a joke.
Posted by Alex  on  Sun Apr 01, 2007  at  12:11 PM
I thought that this was funny.

Im no fan of the Daily Mail, but this was hilarious. It would have been even funnier if it actually happened.

There is some skill to running. Ya have to have really good endurance. Which just so happens to be a skill.

I dont think that this article had anything to do with him being foreign, just about his stupid translator.

Everyone takes everything to far. It was just a joke. Pull that stick out of your butts and get over the fact that someone pulled a prank.
Posted by TnT Dolly  on  Tue Nov 13, 2007  at  09:26 AM
Corporal, Private, don't make me pull rank on you two! You were both briefed that the Xenomorphs discovery was top secret. Get back to the barracks, both of you!
Posted by Sergeant Hews  on  Tue Nov 20, 2007  at  03:33 PM
I see xenophobia here.

Would it be as funny if the runner is from America or from some European country?

How about some African runner? Would that be as funny?

Japan, being one of the most sophisticated nation with ardent sports followings and robust education system, is hardly likely to produce such a gullible athlete.

Hey, maybe London can produce such people - there are already yobos and hulligans!
Posted by Axel  on  Fri Apr 10, 2009  at  11:14 PM