The world’s oldest distance runner completed his last competitive race in Hong Kong this year. On 24th February 101-year-old Fauja Singh finished the 10km event at the Hong Kong Marathon in 1:32:28 – a half minute faster than the previous year!
Singh, aka the “Turbaned Tornado”, became an international sensation when he took up distance running at the age of 89, and has since run nine marathons including London, New York and Toronto.
Originally a farmer in the Indian state Punjab, he settled in England in the 1990s. In his first marathon, in London 2000, he knocked 58 minutes off the previous record for an over 90 year old with a time of 6h 54m.
He has since had a colourful career as a distance runner, with his efforts earning him the honour of running with the torch for the 2004 Athens Olympics and again at last year’s London Olympics. He has even featured in an Adidas commercial alongside international stars such as David Beckham and Muhammad Ali!
In Hong Kong this year he ran with 100 supporters from community organisation “Sikhs in the City”, making a group of 101 to represent his age.
Race day went smoothly for Fauja, who said afterwards “I felt so fresh and so good. I felt I’m full of power today. I will remember this day and I will miss it.”
Set to turn 102 on 1st April, Fauja Singh isn’t about to give up running altogether however. Even though he has retired from competitive events, he intends to keep up his routine of running an impressive 16km a day.
The Hong Kong Marathon event itself was a resounding success once again, with this year’s edition accommodating a record number of participants. The winner of the men’s marathon was Kenyan Julius Maisei with a time of 2:14:18. The women’s champion was Misiker Demissie of Ethiopia with a time of 2:30:49, recording back to back victories in Hong Kong.
With a course that encompasses much of Hong Kong’s architecture and environment, an atmosphere which is vibrant and exciting and Marathon, Half Marathon, 10km and Wheelchair races available, the Hong Kong Marathon truly does have something for everybody – even 101 year olds!
Start planning now to be a part of next year’s Hong Kong Marathon because, as always, it’s going to be great and it’s going to fill up fast.