Goodmayes marathon runner Fauja Singh, aged 101, joins gym ahead of skyscraper challenge

A record breaking Ilford runner has defied his age once again as he joined the gym for the first time at 101 last week.

Fauja Singh, thought to be the world’s oldest marathon runner, was gifted a complimentary membership at Fitness First, High Road, Ilford as he trains for an unconventional vertical marathon challenge.

To mark his 101st year Mr Singh, of Goodmayes, will travel to Taipei, Taiwan, which is also celebrating its 101st birthday, to climb the steps of the world’s tallest office building Taipei 101.

He said his performance on a specialised stair climbing machine during his gym induction was hindered by running 15 miles the previous day “of his own accord”.

Speaking through an interpreter said: “I ran for four hours yesterday and am a little tired, otherwise I would have smashed it.”

The runner explained a little about his foray in to running well in to his 70s and why he finds it the best way to keep active in his old age.

He added: “I was a very sharp and agile young man, but when I lost my son I didn’t think life was worth living.

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“I needed a new focus in life and running gave it to me.

“Nothing beats running because you can do it at your own pace. I’ve seen the world because of it.”

As well as climbing to the pinnacle of the 1,667 ft skyscraper in Taipei, Mr Singh will also run yet another London marathon on April 22.

His trainer, Harmander Singh, believes he is more than ready for the challenge thanks to his motivation.

He said: “The Taipei people were a little concerned about him attempting the climb because they found it so unusual, yet here he is training for a marathon and doing a fantastic time.

“I just motivate him and help him run because he wants to, not because he has to.”

Gym manager Darren Hazell, 34, said: “The main reason he is coming here is to use the step machine so he can get used to the movement.

“I couldn’t do what he’s doing at 34, let alone 101.”