Elderly Ilford runner plans to run London Marathon - when he is 101
WHEN 89-year-old Fauja Singh joined a running club in 1999 eyebrows were raised.
Fauja, of Goodmayes, had his sights set on competing in his first London Marathon the next year and began working on his fitness levels.
His credentials as serious entrant were doubted but trainer Harmander Singh saw his potential picking up on his “enthusiastic attitude.”
Some months later he completed the 26.2mile race in 6hrs 54mins and went on to run another five marathons in London and others in New York and Toronto raising money for charity.
Harmander said: “He put in twice as much effort as everybody else and in ten weeks I had him running 17 miles.
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“His attitude is summed up when suggested doing a 10km run for a training session and he said to me why don’t we do 20km?”
Fauja is now approaching his 100th birthday on April 1 but he is still active and in January, during a holiday in India, he ran 2.5km to promote an anti drug awareness campaign.
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He spoke to The Recorder on Thursday at XXX Gurdwara in High Road, Ilford explaining how he is able to keep running.
Speaking through an interpreter, Fauja, wearing a trousers and a blazer, said: “I don’t believe I am old.
“I take pride in my physical condition and I never let my standards drop because otherwise it would be a downward slope.
“I want to continue making something of my life and I believe we should use whatever talents we have to help people.”
Fauja moved to Goodmayes from India 15 years ago to live with his son.
His daily routine sees him get up at 5am and have a bath before spending time meditating and praying.
He keeps fit by walking up to eight miles a day visiting his son’s office in Chadwell Heath before making his way to the gurdwara.
He said: “My health is God’s gift to me.
“But God gave that gift to everyone and it depends on how it is managed.
“Some abuse it while other aren’t even aware of it.”
Harmander said Fauja will not compete in the London Marathon this year but condition allowing, hopes to become the oldest man to run it in 2012.