Friday February 22, 2013
Centurion marathoner sad over retirement
HONG KONG: A 101-year-old Sikh believed to be the world’s oldest marathon runner said yesterday he felt sad to be retiring from competitive events, as he prepared for his last race this weekend.
Fauja Singh (pic), nicknamed the “Turbaned Tornado”, began running at age 89 and has since completed nine marathons. But he admitted that age has finally caught up with him.
“I am hurt by the fact that I am going to retire,” the Indian-born British national, who only speaks Punjabi, said in Hong Kong through his interpreter ahead of his final race this Sunday.
“I do not really want to hear the word ‘retire’ because I can still run and jump on a bus. It’s a (sense of) negativity that I have never experienced before.”
Fauja, who was a farmer in his home state of Punjab in India before settling in England, has competed in nine 42km marathons in London, Toronto and New York.
His best time was in Toronto, where he clocked 5’40:04.
On Sunday the runner, who turns 102 on April 1, will compete in the 10km event on the sidelines of the Hong Kong Marathon, which has a record 72,000 partici- pants in different categories this year.
The great-great-grandfather, who lives in Ilford, said he has “mixed feelings” about retirement.
“I fear that when I stop running, people will no longer love me. At the moment, everyone loves me... I hope nobody will forget or ignore me,” said Fauja. — AFP