100-Year-Old Marathon Runner an Inspiration

COMMENTARY | Just a week ago, a woman who was 39 weeks pregnant completed a marathon just before she went into labor and gave birth to her new baby girl. The 27-year-old woman was certainly impressive, shocking women everywhere who know how difficult it is just to get out of bed being nine months pregnant. Amber Miller was young, and quite athletic, having completed many of the 26-mile races in the past, and was not the first woman to combine marathon-running and pregnancy.

Fauja Singh, however, did set a world record. The 100-year-old man from east London, England, completed the full marathon in 8 hours, 25 minutes, and 16 seconds. Singh was born in India on April 1, 1911, putting him at 100 years, six months and 15 days, on October 16, 2011, the day of the Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

What makes the story even more interesting, is that Singh didn’t even start running until he was 89 years old, after his wife and son died. He had obviously stayed in shape for most of his life, and was a farmer for many years in Punjab, before he moved to London in the 1960s. The training regimen he started then, and follows currently, includes running 10 miles every day.

Mr. Singh holds several Guinness World Records, including one for being the fastest marathon runner in the over-90 category, set in 2003. He ran the race in five hours and 40 minutes.

His biography was published last year, entitled, “Turbaned Tornado.” The centenarian, in my eyes, trumps even the pregnant marathon runner, though both are pretty exceptional feats. Singh is especially inspiring for all of us who are growing older at what seems like such a rapid pace.

Surely there are no more excuses for being lazy and inactive no matter what age you are, after hearing the story of Singh. The turbaned man breaks the mold of the image of an elderly person who is hard pressed to get up out of his rocking chair and barely make it across the room.

Singh credits “being happy” to his success and stamina. He also said he has a habit of tea drinking as well as ginger curry. But the words he spoke that may be the best advice I’ve heard were, “The secret to a long and healthy life is to be stress-free. Be grateful for everything you have, stay away from people who are negative, stay smiling and keep running.”

Thank you, Mr. Singh, for being such an inspiration to us all.

People also view

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *