Oldest Marathon Runner – Fauja Singh
In the following article I will present the outstanding story of an Indian that amazed an entire world with his athletic performances at an age that most people think about how many days they have left. It is the tale of Fauja Singh – oldest marathon runner.
Let me introduce you: Fauja Singh, born on 1st of April 1911 in Punjab India. Currently, “Turbaned Tornado” is the oldest marathon runner in the world, a performance that he achieved in 2011 Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Fauja Singh, also, broke 7 more records.
The oldest marathon runner started to prepare for this kind of races at the age of 89, an age when most people are not even able to get out of bed. After the tragic losses of his wife and son, Fauja Singh escaped from terrible sadness by starting to run, an activity that brought him the happiness. He stated that “running has made my life worthwhile, I was more dead than alive after the personal tragedy in my life”. Being a Sikh descendant, “Turbaned Tornado” found a spiritual connection, being in tune with his inner self. Running for Singh was like meeting God himself.
Fauja Singh started running short distances – 100 m races -, but soon was convinced to run longer distances, up to a marathon.
“Turbaned Tornado” debuted in long distance races in 2000, in London, at the age of 89, finishing the race after 6 hours 54 minutes. The Indian who would eventually become the oldest marathon runner participated in 8 marathon races from 2000 until 2011, his personal best in the 42.195 km race being recorded in 2003 when he crossed the finish line after 5 hours and 40 minutes.
2011 Toronto Waterfront Marathon was an unique moment in history, when Fauja Singh managed to finish the race after 8 hours 11 minutes, becoming the oldest marathon runner. This race turned him in the record holder in 7 more categories of his age: 100 m (23.40 seconds), 200 m (52.23 seconds), 400 m (2 minutes 13.48 seconds), 800 m (5 minutes 32.18 seconds), 1500 m (11 minutes 27 seconds), 3000 m (24 minutes 52.47 seconds), 5000 m (49 minutes 57.39 seconds). There were five more runners that finished after him, and they were much younger than the “Turbaned Tornado”. Unfortunately, Guinness Book did not acknowledged his result because he was unable to bring a birth certificate to prove that he had 100 years.
Fauja Singh retired from competitive races in 2012, after he run 10 kilometers in Hong Kong in 1 hour 32.28 minutes. “Turbaned Tornado” said that he retired “only in body” because spiritually he was still able to compete. Singh said that he would come to any charity races where he will be invited.
How did Fauja Singh train for marathons and half marathons? The oldest runner in historysaid he finds the strength to finish the races in religion, by chanting while running the name of God: “Waheguru Waheguru!”. He said he walks at least 4-5 hours per day and his fitness is due to ginger curry, cups of tea and living a happy life. As Singh said “Laughter and happiness is what life should be about, that’s your remedy for everything”.
This was the incredible story of the Fauja Singh – oldest marathon runner in history, and I do believe that this man believed that nothing is impossible and found happiness and spirituality in running. He proved that age do not represent a barrier, but more a limitation that we put in our minds.