Within the competitive running community, Fauja Singh is a global celebrity. For the last 13 years, he has participated in nine marathons, as well as several shorter races and numerous charity events. As a practicing Sikh, he has used running to advocate for world peace and promote wholesome dietary habits. Singh’s religion is also the impetus behind his longstanding nickname, ‘The Turbaned Tornado’. He co-starred in a PETA campaign with David Beckham, and served as a torchbearer for the London Olympics last summer.
One more thing about Mr. Singh: he’s 101 years old. For years, he’s held the title of ‘world’s oldest marathon runner’ — and broken a handful of records for his age group. At age 92, he notched his career best time — 5 hours 40 minutes — at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. When he crossed the finish line at the same race in 2011, he became the first centenarian to complete a full marathon race. The video below shows Singh’s historic finish two years ago:
Singh spent most of his life as a farmer in the Punjab region of India. After his wife passed away in 1995, he decided to take up competitive running — a hobby he enjoyed as a boy but ultimately did not pursue past early adulthood. At first Singh ran as a hobby, and then he became serious; he eventually moved to the United Kingdom, hired a trainer and, in 2000, took part in his first marathon in London. Eight more would follow. Throughout his career, Singh claimed that a strict vegetarian diet was the key to his astonishing athleticism.
And now, the Tornado is calling it a day — sort of. On Sunday, Feb. 24, Singh participated in the final race of his career, a 10k held in conjunction with the Hong Kong Marathon. “I’m very happy,” he told Deccan Herald. ”When I was running I felt very good, but now that I’ve stopped, I’m tired.” However, Singh does not plan to stop running altogether. He said that, retired or not, he plans to race in support of various charitable causes. He will turn 102 in April.
On behalf of Wenger, congratulations to Fauja Singh on an amazing, inspiring running career!