Friday, July 01, 2005

Marathon Man

It's just six years until the Queen's telegram lands on your mat congratulating you on your 100th birthday.

You're taking it easy, right? Slippers on, trips to the coast with a blanket on your lap and a short shuffle to the newsagent's for your Werther's Originals the closest you get to exercise.

Not if you're Fauja Singh - who can regularly be spotted flying down the streets of Essex in his spikes.

At 94, he's run seven marathons (five in London), countless half-marathons and was recently part of the world's oldest marathon team in Edinburgh.

Fauja's jogging skills were developed on an Indian farm in Punjab, and then at the magical age of 81, when he moved to the UK, his love for the sport became more "serious".

Next up? He's set his sights on being a record breaker.

And Asafa Powell might have to watch his back. The Jamaican may have the new 100m record, but Fauja's after eight of them - in one day.

On Saturday, London's Mile End Park Stadium will witness the great man attempting to set world bests for men over 90 in the 100m, 200m, 300m, 800m, 1500m, 1 mile, 3,000m and 5,000m.

The action starts at 10:30BST with proceeds going to charity and the event is in support of the London 2012 Olympic bid.

So any secrets to fitness? Fauja's training regime includes a daily eight-mile walk and run, no smoking or drinking, plenty of smiling and lashings of ginger curry.

The pounding pensioner is already a superstar. Last year Adidas signed up Fauja alongside David Beckham and Jonny Wilkinson as part of its 'Impossible is nothing' campaign.

And next on the list?

More marathons - and coach Harminder Singh is trying to set up a showdown between Fauja and Japan's Kozo Haraguchi - the new 100m world record holder for the 95-99 age group.

Expect some serious fireworks on the starting line.

So, having only run seriously for the last 13 years, when does Fauja think he'll trade in his spikes for a zimmer frame?

"When I die!" he laughs.

So at least another 50 years, then.

San Nakji for President!


Oricon Ailin said...

Oh my goodness!! Now if that ain't inspiration for me to get moving on my treadmill, then I don't know what is!!!

I hope he does keep running for many more years...hehehe

San Nakji said...

He can do my share of running! What are you still doing up at this time of night?

Anonymous said...

I run. And run.

This guy's doing better than me!