Fauja singh was born on 1st April1911. Most of his life was spent in farming, village near Jalandhar like any other farmer of Punjab who toils for bread and in turn produces food grains for the whole of India. Fauja Singh toiled like all other Sikhs who made Punjab ‘the Food bowl of India.’
At the ripe age of 81 Fauja Singh came to London during 1992 to live with his son after he lost his wife. Like all Punjabi Sikhs who get habitual of toiling through out their lives, thus keeping sound health in natural environment, is punishment for them to sit idle. “Sitting at home is really killing as most elderly people in Britain eat a rich diet, don’t move about and only travel in cars, that makes them sick,’’ he says. He was not prepared to sit at home and get sick. He decided to jog first to overcome his boredom.
Fauja Singh shot to fame when he was 89. He completed the grueling 26.2 mile distance in 6 hours and 54 minutes. This knocked 58 minutes off the previous world best for anyone in the 90 plus age bracket.Fauja Singh became Britain’s most popular Sikh at the age of 93, the oldest runner in Sunday’s London Marathon. He further threatened to break his own world record of 5.40 hours in the 90 plus age bracket that he set earlier.
While running Marathon races in London, New York and Toronto, he raised thousands of pounds/dollarsfor various charities promoting Sikhism around the world. He has also raised money for B.L.I.S.S., a charity dedicated to the care for premature babies. He describes it as the ‘oldest running for the youngest’.
Smiling while running he says, ‘I never thought of running a Marathon but slowly it grew in me.’ What surprises many is that he supports his 51Kg. Body weight and six feet tall body frame with a very simple vegetarian diet. ‘I am very careful about different foods. My diet is simple phulka, dal, green vegetables, yoghurt and milk. I do not touch parathas, pakoras, rice or any other fried food. I take lots of water and tea with ginger.’ the smile is fixed beneath his silver haired beard. Perhaps that’s the reason behind his strikingly inspiring and positive attitude. ‘I go to bed early, remembering my Rabb [God] as I don’t want negative thoughts crossing my mind.’ When asked doesn’t he find it difficult to cover 26 miles at this age? He said ‘The first 20 miles are not difficult. As for last six miles, I run while talking to Waheguru (God).’
Fauja Singh said when five Sikhs ran together and their combined age was 379 years,”I hope we will inspire young people to keep going and older people never to give up.”
Fauja Singh’s distinctive features:
- He rediscovered running at age 81 (because he was bored sitting around his son’s house) and ran his first marathon at 89.
- The next year he set a world record for 90 year-olds
- He ran faster as he got older!
- He became a poster boy for Addidas and he gave a large chunk of the money to charity
- He’s a pure vegetarian
- He ran Marathons-London(5), Toronto(1), New York(1)
He was recently part of the world’s oldest marathon team in Edinburgh
London’s Mile End Park Stadium was host to the great man attempting to set world bests for men over 90. The event was all in aid of charity and promoting the London 2012 Olympic bid
Having run seriously for the last 13 years, Fauja Singh replied to a question as to when he is likely to retire?
“When I die!” he said laughing