Fauja Singh- An age-proof man
As the title suggest, this man is timeless. Today the maximum age limit of a normal human is 75 years and initially people retires by the age of 60. Most of the old people rely on sticks to walk or are completely bed ridden. While many may shock us by living a life beyond 75 that too completely healthy. But whatever it may be, one cannot deny the basic phenomenon that man loses his strength by the time they reach old age. Fauja Singh on the other hand is swiping over this prejudice and is doing some of the wonders which are way beyond human understanding. At the age of 108, Singh is a proud Marathon runner. Yes, you read it right Fauja Singh is world’s oldest marathon runner. His story starts right from British rule to making an independent India proud. His journey is remarkable and inspiring at the same time.
Fauja Singh was born in 1911 in a British occupied India. He was born in Beas Pind, Jalandhar, Punjab. But do you know that today a marathon runner was once disabled? Well not completely disables, Singh didn’t walked until 5 years of age as his legs were very thin and weak. He was prohibited from walking long distances. He was teased by the other kids by several names and this continued for next 10 years. Things changed when he got older and stronger and would consider himself as an amateur runner. He soon quit as the partition of India started.
Singh eventually got married and has a few kids. He was living a happy life until 1992 when he lost his wife. But the worst heart break was when he lost his fifth son in an accident in 1994. Singh was shattered only to encounter another downfall when his daughter died giving birth to his third granddaughter. Situations succumbed in a way that he sank into complete depression only to seek motivation at the end of it. At the age of 89 when many of us turn to bed, Singh returned to his passion of running. By this time he had immigrated to London to live with one his son. He showed up to the ground in a three piece suit, so the coach has to redo his everything including his dressing. According to his coach, Singh is a serious runner whose will power is even stronger than his young alias. He ran his first race, the London Marathon, in 2000 and by the age of 93, Singh completed a marathon in 6 hours and 54 minutes. Singh holds UK records for the 200 m, 400 m, 800 m and 3000 m for his age group, records all set within a single 94 minute period and has also featured in many advertising campaign. Though he isn’t a part of world book of record as he wasn’t able to give his birth proof because in British rule, birth certificates were not a thing of trend. At the age of 100 he completed eight world age group records in a single day, at the special Ontario Masters Association Fauja Singh Invitational Meet. Since then, he hasn’t stopped and till today is running and running. Singh has also received a letter from Queen Elizabeth II congratulating him on his 100th birthday. While many of the runners of his age doesn’t even run a half, he on the other hand has never left a race unfinished. When asked him about his key to stamina, the old man said with the simile- “my diet”.
“I am very careful about different foods. My diet is simple phulka, dal, green vegetables, yogurt and milk. I do not touch parathas, pakoras, rice or any other fried food. I take lots of water and tea with ginger. … I go to bed early taking the name of my God as I don’t want all those negative thoughts crossing my mind.”
He was awarded the “Pride of India” title by a UK organization for his achievements in 2011 and has many more resting in his home. Singh now has been retired since 2012, he still holds all the age-related world records and inspires many. His story of unconditional love for his family to his unbreakable determination for his passion is a story worth writing about.