In India, there happens to be an old man that has made his mark in world of sports as the oldest marathon runner in the world. Fauja Singh is a British Sikh marathon runner that was born on the 1st of April, 1911. He was born in Punjab, India and is the youngest of the 4 children. Fauja was unable to work till he was 5 years old as his legs were thin and weak. This also prevented him from walking long distances when he later began to walk. His inability to walk long distances resulted to him being ridiculed and given the name DANDA. Later on, Fuaja grew up to be an amateur runner but later gave up on it during the period of the 1947 India-Pakistan Partition.
Fauja Singh became popular when he took part in a marathon race at the age of 93. He was able to complete the marathon race in 6hours and 54 minutes. Fauja Singh is referred to as a hero in India as he has achieved various feats such as:
- Participating in the London marathon, 2000 at the age of 89
- Completing the London Marathon, 2001 in 6 hours, 54 minutes
- Completing the London Marathon, 2002 in 6 hours, 45 minutes
- Completing the Bupa Great North Run, 2002 in 2 hours, 39 minutes
- Completing the London Flora Marathon, 2003 in 6 hours, 2 minutes
- Completing the Toronto Waterfront Marathon, 2003 in 5 hours, 40 minutes
- Completing the New York City Marathon, 2003 in 7 hours, 35 minutes
- Completing the London Flora Marathon 2004 in 6 hours, 7 minutes
Fauja Singh has participated and still participating in various marathon races and has gained international recognition as the oldest marathon runner in the world. However, what comes to mind is how a man of 103 years could have the strength and agility to be involved and also complete various marathon races. After being asked of his secret, Fauja Singh has revealed countless times that his secret is his lifestyle, the food he consumes, how he consumes them and such other factors. The important factors of this great man’s success are as a result of his lifestyle generally.
Fauja Singh is very fit and weighs 52kgs. He is known to abstain from smoking and drinking alcohol. Furthermore, he is a vegetarian and feeds on simply vegetarian diet. According to Fauja Singh, feeding solely on vegetarian diet keeps him very fit. Fauja Singh is a man that regularly walks, run and get involved in various exercises daily for at least 4 hours. Fauja Sing eats only yogurt, green vegetables, pulses, dal, chapattis and roti. He avoids eating fried food and rice. He avoids milk because he is scared he would build phlegm if he consumes milk. He is also known to drink large amount of water and tea, alongside ginger. He constantly does this and prays to God before he sleeps. Fauja Singh claims that his life is well protected as he can control what he eats.
According to Fauja Singh, people in Britain feed on rich diet and do not move about as they travel in cars. He claims that this makes them sick. According to him, people in Punjabi know the importance of eating and drinking, and he eats only what he needs. According to Fauja Singh, he would probably be dead by now if he was always full after eating.
Fauja Singh has the mindset of staying positive as he believes one is not meant to worry about things. According to him, one does not die of happiness; hence one should always be happy. Fauja Singh always consider himself not be old as he believes that when he begins to regard himself as old, he would begin to lose everything. It is the belief of Fauja Singh that age is a state of mind and it could deter one from achieving various things. Hence, he always being positive and seeing himself as young. During a sikh discussion, those that had never taken tablet or medicine were asked to signify. Out of about 50 persons, only Fauja Singh raised hands up. Fauja Singh believes in nature and its wonders.
Fauja Singh believes that for one to be fit and healthy, he needs to avoid seating for too long. One should always exercise and be involved in various activities. Fauja Singh was asked why a man of 40 years would be complaining of joint pains and other sicknesses, when he (Fauja Singh) does not suffer from such pains and sicknesses. He gave a reply that it was all in the mind. He further stated that people complain of pain in the joints because they sit for too long.
Being a vegetarian has always being the faith of Fauja Singh as they eat to live and not to live to eat in his religion (Sikh religion). Sikh religion does not give room for followers to consume any animal that has experienced suffering; hence they end up being vegetarians. According to Fauja Singh, he has been a vegetarian his whole life as a result of his faith. Fauja Singh has been consuming Punjabi vegetarian diet from childhood as people of Punjabi are all farmers and eat only what they grow.
In the lifetime of Fauja Singh, various questions of his lifestyle and ability to participate in marathon races have been asked. Fauja Singh has been able to gives e wonderful answers to these questions and has also helped improve the lifestyle of various people across the globe. Fauja Singh is a role model to many people, within and outside India. He has changed the whole myth surrounding the fact that aged people cannot be involved in activities that the younger generations are involved in. With the right lifestyle, state of mind, mentality and discipline, one can do many things even when he is in his hundreds.
Fauja Singh loves to eat anything that is simple. He could eat only one dhal and chappati at a time. He does not believe in excessiveness or waste. He also loves to eat a lot of ginger curry. Fauja Singh has a routine on how he eats his meals. He does not change this routine even when he would be involved a race. The life of Fauja Singh is a life of belief, faith, discipline and commitment.