12-Jun-1965 – Polytechnic Marathon – 2:12:00 – Onitsuka Tiger Super Marup
Date of birth: 21-Jun-1940
World Record Duration: 2 years, 5 months, 21 days
Morio Shigematsu likely felt he had something to prove after missing the cut for the Japanese team for the 1964 Olympics. He certainly demonstrated his talents the next year at the Boston Marathon, where he won and set a new course record in the process.
At the Polytechnic Marathon that same year, Shigematsu had every reason to be confident. It would be another significant test, the Polytechnic Marathon based on the marathon course from the 1908 Olympics. This was also where the now standard 26 mile 385 yard distance was first used. To clarify some of the legends around this decision, the distance was chosen to avoid some cobblestone roads along the course and to give more spectators in the stadium the chance to witness the finish.
Setting foot on the starting line, Shigematsu had ten marathons under his belt and had won several. Conditions were apparently ideal, with Shigematsu appearing relaxed as he powered across the course. According to contemporary reports, he still had the energy to put in bursts of speed every two miles to ensure that he and his fellow Japanese runners stayed ahead. It was more than enough, with Shigematsu crossing the line 11.2 seconds quicker than the previous world record set by Bikila.
He had clearly left everything out there on the course, as the exhausted Shigematsu had to be stretchered away afterwards. While he never had another shot at Olympic glory, Shigematsu continued winning marathons across Japan before retiring from running in the early 70s.
What Shigematsu achieved helped further promote the already popular Onitsuka Tiger Super Marup, with vintage advertisements boasting of his time. You may however notice that the shoes have three stripes. These are three distinctive stripes, and not the design seen on the Super Marup with the front two stripes linked.
As confusing as it was, Onitsuka offered several overlay options including threes. It was one of the reasons why, in 1966, they introduced the Tiger Stripes that have become synonymous with the brand. For more information about the Marup, check out their first entry on this list when they were worn by Shigematsu’s fellow countryman Toru Terasawa.