101-Year-Old Marathon Runner Hangs Up Shoes (Sort of)

The oldest marathon runner broke his own record Sunday at the London Marathon.

101-year-old Fauja Singh ran the 26 miles and 385 yards in seven hours and 49 minutes, half an hour faster than his time at the 2011 Toronto Marathon.

Singh has said this is his last marathon race. He wants to run shorter distances, faster.

His trainer Harmander Singh said:

“I believe it’s probably best that this is the last. I don’t think he has anything else to prove.”

But although he has a British passport and a centennial letter from the Queen, because he was born in Punjab, India, in 1911, he does not have the ‘proper’ records — so the Guinness Book of Records won’t recognize him because he does not have a birth certificate.

Not that it matters, says Fauja Singh:

“I did not even know what the Guinness Book of Records was until someone told me. It doesn’t matter to me as I just enjoy the running and everyone I know has been so pleased or inspired by it, and that is all that matters. I can’t read, anyway.”

Fauja attributes his staying power to cups of tea, staying happy, 10 miles of jogging or walking a day and a simple vegetarian diet.

“The day I stop running, my body will stop altogether and that will be the end of me,” he says. He will keep on. In June he will climb the 101 — of course — stories of the Taipei Tower. He will also be part of the 2012 London Olympic Games torch relay.

Singh moved to the UK in the 1960s. He had run when he was a farmer in Punjab but only took up the sport seriously 11 years ago after the death of his wife and his son. At his first training session, he turned up in a suit. He speaks only Punjabi and cannot read or write.

When he ran the New York City Marathon in 2003 wearing his turban, he endured taunts of “Hey, Osama Bin Laden” and “Look at Saddam.”

Speaking about running the marathon, he said:

“The first 20 miles are not difficult. As for last six miles, I run while talking to God.”

Watch NDTV interview with Singh:

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Image source: Hari Singh/Wikipedia

67 comments

Mandi A.
Amanda A.4 years ago

Wow simply amazing!

Nimue Pendragon

What an incredible bloke! How very sad and wrong that he won't be acknowledged by the Guinness Book of Records! The fact he was issued a British passport and has the usual centennial letter from Her Maj should be proof enough of his age, despite the lack of a birth certificate; I should think the British government means something and also the Queen's word. Perhaps his family should write to the Queen and tell them what's going on, I'm sure she would love to help. Anyway, well done, Mr. Singh! :)

Joe R.
Joe R.4 years ago

Amazing!

Carol Kemp
Carol Kemp4 years ago

Wonderful, well done! Amazing how folk are staying young longer! Mr Singhlooks a picture of health!

Suzanne Loewen
Suzanne L.4 years ago

Bless Mr. Singh. His philosophy of eating little and refusing to carry around negative thoughts or feelings could benefit everyone.

Jane Warren
Jane Warren4 years ago

thnx for this. It's almost enough to get me into training - unfortunately I have a cast on my foot for another couple of weeks.

Angela N.
Angela N.4 years ago

thanks :)

annie s.
annie statton4 years ago

He puts us all to shame ( well me anyway ).

annie s.
annie statton4 years ago

He puts us all to shame ( well me anyway ).

Dan B.
Dan Brook4 years ago

"Fauja attributes his staying power to cups of tea, staying happy, 10 miles of jogging or walking a day and a simple vegetarian diet."

all good things...