At an age when most pensioners are winding down their lives, Fauja Singh begins a new one. Fauja Singh is 104 and is believed to be the world’s oldest runner. In his late 80s, and feeling “more dead than alive” following the loss of his wife and one of his sons, he took up marathon […]
At an age when most pensioners are winding down their lives, Fauja Singh begins a new one. Fauja Singh is 104 and is believed to be the world’s oldest runner.
In his late 80s, and feeling “more dead than alive” following the loss of his wife and one of his sons, he took up marathon running.
Now 104, he has become an unlikely celebrity despite a birth defect that prevented him being able to walk until the age of five.
“When I took up running, it was like meeting God himself. I have been running ever since.” With his distinctive flowing grey beard and the traditional Sikh headgear that has earned him the nickname “the Turbaned Tornado,” Singh has been a star entrant at marathons all over the world.
More medical tests done when he was 99 “showed that I was a man of 40 years of age.”
Singh grew up in a village in the Jalandhar district of the north-western Punjab state along with his four brothers and sisters and their parents.
“One doesn’t know about life’s complexities at that age. Whatever means one has always seems to be enough,” he said. “Life was good because we had land and animals … there was no stress.”
As well as soothing his soul, running has also brought Singh unexpected fame — he appeared in an Adidas advertising campaign along with soccer superstar David Beckham and boxing legend Muhammad Ali in 2004. A strict vegetarian (he appeared in a campaign by animal rights group PETA) Singh describes himself as “an illiterate person” — this interview was translated from Punjabi with the help of his coach.
Most of Singh’s marathons were charity fundraisers, in line with his Sikh beliefs. “There are two noble things in life: one to do charity and other to look after your body,” he said.
“This includes the high principles outlined by my religion, to earn an honest living and to share your means with those less fortunate. “I am inspired by honest people who don’t cheat others. To me the famous are those who are kind to fellow human beings and dedicate their life to charity.” And it is his religion that helps him keep going with that spirit.
~ Source: UnitedSikhs