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Another marathon milestone for centenarian Fauja Singh

Last updated on: October 17, 2011 14:31 IST

Another marathon milestone for centenarian Fauja Singh

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Hundred-year-old Fauja Singh maintained his awe-inspiring record at the marathons after he became the first centenarian to complete the Toronto marathon on Sunday.

Ironically, the event witnessed the death of a 27-year-old, who collapsed and died just 300 metres from the finish line. The Canadian Press reported that it appeared he suffered a heart attack while running the half-marathon.

Running his eight marathon, Fauja Singh, completed the run in eight hours, 11 minutes and 5.9 seconds, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

The marathon was won by Kenneth Mungara of Kenya in a time of two hours, nine minutes and 51 seconds.

A British citizen, Fauja Singh first entered the record books when in 2003, he finished the Toronto race in five hours, 40 minutes and one second.


Image: Fauja Singh
Photographs: Getty Images
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Records and plaudits for Fauja Singh

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Indian-born Singh believes that the root cause of his success is a daily 10-mile training regimen which is completed by eating plenty of ginger curry and drinking copious amounts of tea.

Fauja was aiming at completing the Toronto marathon in 9 hours, but having crossed the line in less than the expected time limit had the centenarian 'overjoyed'.

"Earlier, just before we came around the (final) corner, he said, 'Achieving this will be like getting married again.'

"He's absolutely overjoyed, he's achieved his life-long wish," his coach and translator Harmander Singh said.

At the Toronto event, Fauja Singh broke world records for runners older than 100 in eight different distances ranging from 100 metres to 5,000 metres.

In the past, his exploits gained him contracts with sports shoe manufacturer Adidas in 2004.

Fauja Singh's success also won the heart of Indian author Kushwant Singh, who went on to pen a book on the veteran marathon runner -- Turbaned Tornado The Oldest Marathon Runner Fauja Singh.


Image: Fauja Singh
Photographs: Getty Images
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Fauja eyeing Edinburgh Marathon Festival 2012

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Singh holds UK records for the 200 m, 400 m, 800 m, mile and 3000 m for his age group, records all set within a single 94 minute period.

His current personal best time for the London Marathon (2003) is 6 hours 2 minutes.

The Sikh from Punjab says he developed his love for running while working as a farmer in the state. But it was not until he moved to the UK, half a century later, that he took up the sport seriously.

With the help of his coach, Harminder Singh, he started challenging other pensioners to races.

"If someone says I must stop running I ignore them -- invariably they're younger than me. The secret to a long and healthy life is to be stress-free.

"If there's something you can't change then why worry about it? Be grateful for everything you have, stay away from people who are negative, stay smiling and keep running," he had said in the Daily Mail.

The nimble-footed centenarian, has now completed eight marathons since turning 89.

Fauja Singh was the first to sign up for the 2012 Edinburgh race, now hopes to take part in the Edinburgh Marathon Festival 2012, 26.2-mile race, as part of a four-man relay team with an average age of 86.


Image: Fauja Singh
Photographs: Getty Images
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