Fauja Singh today became the first centenarian to complete a marathon when he finished the 26.2-mile event in Toronto. He is 100 years old.
According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Singh, who is a British citizen born in India, completed the marathon in eight hours, 11 minutes and 5.9 seconds.
The Toronto marathon was Fauja Singh’s eighth marathon. He had set a record in 2003 in the 90-plus age category, in which he finished in five hours, 40 minutes and one second.
Centenarian Fauja Singh was the last runner to complete the course, said he was overjoyed at his achievement.
“Beating his original prediction, he’s overjoyed,” his coach and translator Harmander Singh said. “Earlier, just before we came around the corner, he said, ‘Achieving this will be like getting married again’.”
Singh was born on a farm in India in April 1911 and speaks only Punjabi. He is 5ft 8in and weighs just 115 pounds. According to him, part of his secret is that he eats a light vegetarian diet of mainly tea, toast and curry. Singh took up running about 20 years ago after losing his wife and child in tragic circumstances.
The Toronto marathon was won by Kenneth Mungara of Kenya in a time of two hours, nine minutes and 51 seconds.
However, this year’s event was marred by the death of a 27-year-old man who collapsed just 320 yards from the finish line.