TORONTO – The amazing, blazing Sikh Fauja Singh is still defying his 100-year age and this past weekend became the oldest person to complete a full-distance marathon when he finished the race in Toronto on Sunday.
The UK-based Fauja Singh earned a spot in the Guinness World Book of Records for his accomplishment.
It took Singh more than eight hours to cross the finish line, more than six hours after Kenya’s Kenneth Mungara won the event for the fourth straight year and he was the last competitor to complete the course.
But his time wasn’t nearly as remarkable as the accomplishment.
Event workers dismantled the barricades along the finish line and took down sponsor banners even as Singh made his way up the final few hundred yards of the race.
Family, friends and supporters greeted Singh when he finished the race.
“Beating his original prediction, he’s overjoyed,” said coach and translator Harmander Singh. “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.”
Conservative MP Parm Gill, MP (Brampton-Springdale) recognize the incredible Fauja Singh in the House of Commons on Monday, saying the centenarian runner broke nine world age group records this past week in Toronto.
“He broke the 100 meters, the 200 meters, the 400 meters, the 800 meters, the 1500 meters, the 3000 meters, and the 5000 meters world age group records. And as if these 8 records were not enough, Mr. Speaker, Fauja Singh went on to become the oldest person to ever complete a marathon. At over 100 years of age, Fauja Singh ran the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 8 hours, 11 minutes, and 6 seconds,” Gill said
Aside from his remarkable physical abilities, Singh selflessly gives back to local communities through charities such as the Guru Gobind Singh Children’s Foundation, which has a mission to help children meet basic needs.
“Mr. Speaker, on behalf of all Torontonians, especially those from my riding of Brampton-Springdale, I want to congratulate Fauja Singh on his remarkable achievements!”
Famously known as the Turbaned Tornado, Singh was the only person of his age group to have ever run through a full-length marathon.
Born in April 1911 in India, Singh began running at the age of 80 and runs 16km every day to maintain his outstanding fitness level.
He is hopeful of participating in the torch relay for the 2012 London Summer Games. Singh carried the torch during the relay for the 2004 Athens Games.
Race director Alan Brookes struggled to find the right words to describe Singh’s remarkable accomplishment.
“I’m speechless,” he said. “Fauja Singh is a remarkable human being.”