At 99 years of age, Fauja Singh is one of the oldest Marathon runners in the world. He has run in over 10 marathons, and has broken 12 UK, European, Commonwealth, and World Records. He had set the British senior records for the 400 meters, 800m, 1 mile, and 3000m. You’re probably thinking, “Hey Billal, I could do that”, well you got a lot of nerve punk! Not only did he break these records, he did it all in one afternoon over the span of 94 minutes.
A bright eyed baby faced Fauja Singh began his running career at the tender age of 81. He soon redeveloped a flare for running and became well noticed when in 2003, he set the marathon world record for the 90-year-old+ category, completing the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 5 hours and 40 minutes. Eventually Fauja was asked to appear with David Beckham in the Adidias “Impossible is Nothing” campaign to which Fauja commented, “Who is this David Beckham?” Personally it would have been even funnier if when Fauja met David Beckham he handed him the keys to a Toyota Camry and said, “When you’re parking it, try not to get it scratched, and no joy rides!” Adidas eventually named a shoe-range in Fauja’s honour, while Beckham went onto model underwear. OH! I get it, suddenly a 99 year old Punjabi man from Jalandhar isn’t good enough to model CK underwear; YOU RACISTS!
When asked how he manages to stay in such great shape, Fauja answered, “a daily eight-mile walk and run, no smoking or drinking, plenty of smiling, and lashings of ginger curry.” Fauja also muttered something about the lungs of a Cheetah and radioactivity, but no one was really listening. As you probably already guessed, Fauja gives every penny that he raises from running to charity. Essentially, he gives more away than Lindsay Lohan after 2 Bacardi Breezers. Against popular belief, the number “10999” on Fauja Singh’s shirt is not the year he was born; this is an obvious fallacy as it does not end with letters “BC”. In reality the “10999” is the number of people Fauja Singh has Punjabi-kicked out cold for making fun of his age. So the next time you see Fauja he’s probably going to be wearing the number 11000, while I’ll be wearing a full body. Please don’t hurt me sir. I have a young sister who is very sick…you can go after her instead.
Fauja has also run as one of the torch-bearers for the Athens Olympics in 2004, and has personally been invited by former Pakistani President Parvez Musharraf to run in the Lahore Marathon. Ironically, the last thing Musharraf can ever do is “run” in Pakistan. When asked how he felt about all the attention he was getting, Fauja replied, “It makes me happy. Elderly people are like little children, they like attention.” Now if that didn’t bring a smile to your face, than its fair to say you’re probably a bastard. Finally, when asked when he would stop running, Fauja Singh replied, “When I die”.
Now I’m pretty sure Fauja Singh is never going to read this article. But, if he does, I would just like to say that on behalf of the entire South Asian community, thank you for showing us that it’s never too late to find and do something that you love, and thank you for inspiring us to carry on even in the face of adversity.