If you ever feel that you are not getting the feeling to run, and want to look around for some motivation, then who would be a better option than reading about the world’s oldest marathon runner– Fauja Singh. 109 years – Yes, you read it right, 109 years old Fauja Singh has got the record of the oldest marathon runner under his name. Being the oldest marathon runner, he has been given various nicknames such as Turbaned Tornado, Running Baba, Sikh Superman, etc.
Fauja Singh’s story is extraordinary as he fought against a lot of hardships and became the oldest marathon runner. We had touched upon his record in our blog around facts about marathons. However, in this blog, we will go deep into details on how Fauja Singh became the Turbaned Tornado.
“I run while talking to God – Fauja Singh”
Fauja Singh was born in Beas Pind, Punjab in the year 1911, way before India got its independence. Would you imagine the man who is running at the age of 100+ could not even walk properly till he was 5 years old. He was not a very healthy child and was very thin and weak. He often received a lot of banter from kids around him. It was very difficult for Fauja to even walk long distances as his legs were very weak.
On the education front also there is nothing much to say as Fauja never went to school. He tried his luck in farming and taking care of the cattle. With the hard work that he put in farms, the small, lean Fauja grew up to become tall and handsome Fauja Singh. He got married to Gian Kaur and had 6 children, 3 boys, and 3 girls.
Till Fauja reached 81, Fauja was living a happy life with one of his sons to take care of him in India and quite often he would visit abroad to visit his other children. But in 1992, Gian Kaur left him for a heavenly abode and just 2 years later his son Kuldeep was killed in a construction accident.
Fauja was 83 years old at that time and any person other than Fauja would have buckled down, but fate had other plans for Fauja. Life was going to take a spectacular turn for him. In the late 90s, he moved to London to live with his other son.
Rising of the Superman
At the age of 89, he got interested in the upcoming London Marathon. He only had the experience of running in the fields around 60-70 years ago and slight morning jogging in London. However, he was determined this time to take part in the London Marathon. Fauja also took help from a coach Harmander Singh, who initially was reluctant, but finally agreed to see the resilience of Fauja Singh.
Under the coach, Fauja began the training with full concentration. The phoenix began to rise from the ashes and Fauja who was once down and shattered after a series of mishaps started feeling better. That is what running a marathon can do to a hopeless soul.
Fauja Singh ran the 2000 London marathon and completed it in 6 hours and 54 minutes, which was a miracle for an 89-year-old person.
Records and Achievements
After the 2000 London Marathon, Fauja Singh ran the next year i.e. 2001 as well. This is when Fauja Singh broke the record of the fastest marathoner alive at the age of 90. He clocked 7 hours 52 minutes and had beaten the previous record by 50+ minutes.
At the age of 92, he went running for the third time and the story continued year after year. Between 2000 to 2011, the oldest marathoner, Fauja Singh, had run around eight marathons.
The 2011 year was pretty special and yes, it was because Fauja had turned 100 years. With this achievement, Fauja wanted to achieve what nobody else could have thought. On the same day, Fauja set five world records for running 100 m, 200 m, 400 m, 800 m, 1500 m, 3000 m, and 5000 m and broke the records for the age category. In Oct 2011, Fauja Singh became the first 100+ years person to complete a marathon, Toronto Waterfront Marathon. The time clocked by him was 8 hours 11 minutes and 6 seconds.
In 2004, Fauja also featured in an Adidas ad with the theme, “Impossible is nothing”. In 2011, Fauja became the oldest man to appear in the PETA campaign. He also got the honor of running with two Olympic torches (2004 Athens and 2012 London).
Fauja ran for the last time in the Hong Kong marathon in Feb 2013. He timed 1 hour 32 minutes 28 seconds for the 10 km race.
Conclusion: What’s happening now?
The passion that Fauja Singh has shown can never settle down. Fauja still does light exercise and tries to stay active. Moreover, there are books written on him now. “Turbaned Tornado” – a book written by Kushwant Singh with the Foreword written by Capt. Amarinder Singh. This book pictures the entire life of Fauja Singh. Another book “Fauja Singh keeps going”, written by Simran Jeet Singh, and Foreword written by none other than Fauja Singh.
I have read the book Turbaned Tornado and most of the information in this blog has been derived from that book and some other information around Fauja Singh. I will read the other book as well and would love to share the review with you all but let’s reserve that for some other day.
For today, let’s get inspired by someone who has been around for 110 years now, and is still inspiring the marathon runner in all of us.
Thank You for reading it through. The oldest marathon runner Fauja Singh inspired me to the core. His grit, perseverance, and never say die attitude makes him a real life hero. I hope the way he literally ran over the tragedies that came into his life, has motivated you as well.
Do share this inspirational story among your friends and families and don’t forget to share your thoughts in our comment section. We will meet you again next week with a new useful and inspiring content. Till then…
Keep reading! Keep running!