Fauja Singh: The Inspirational Centenarian Marathon Runner
You're never too old to run a marathon, according to Fauja Singh.
Fauja Singh is a living legend in the world of long-distance running. Born on April 1, 1911, in Beas Pind, Punjab, India, he has become a global icon of inspiration and resilience. Singh is known for his dedication to running marathons, a passion that he discovered relatively late in life.
While he may have retired from marathon running, he remains something of a British Indian icon, known as “the turbaned tornado,” with biopics and books detailing his story of resilience, tenacity and the proponents of his Sikh faith, highlighting that sometimes superheroes are where you least expect to find them.
Early Life and Challenges
Singh's life has been marked by several challenges, including the early loss of his parents and his struggles to provide for his family. As a young child, he struggled to walk, making his transition to marathon runner even more extraordinary.
He worked as a farmer and later as a railway worker before moving to the UK to join his son in 1992. It was in the UK that Singh discovered his love for running, which has since transformed his life and inspired millions around the world.
The Discovery of Running
It was the death of his son, Kuldip, in 1994 that saw Fauja take up jogging as an outlet for his grief. He quickly found that he had a natural talent for running, and he began to train seriously for marathons.
Singh began running marathons at the age of 89, and he has since completed several races, including the London Marathon, Toronto Waterfront Marathon, and New York City Marathon. He holds several world records for his age group, including the world record for the fastest marathon time by a person over the age of 90. He is also the oldest person to have ever completed a marathon, having done so aged 100. He is also the oldest person ever to have completed a 100-mile race.
Fauja is the first Sikh superhero, captured in the children's book "Fauja Singh Keeps Going," about how tenacity and persistence pay off.
Philanthropy and Legacy
In addition to his impressive running achievements, Singh has also been recognized for his philanthropic work. He has raised funds for various charities through his running, including the British Heart Foundation, UNICEF, and the Guru Nanak Gurdwara in London. He has also been involved in various campaigns to raise awareness about healthy living and the benefits of exercise.
Singh's impact on the world of running and beyond has been recognized by numerous awards and accolades. In 2012, he was chosen as a torchbearer for the London Olympics, and in 2013, he was awarded the British Empire Medal for his services to sport and charity.
He has also been featured in several documentaries and movies, including the 2011 documentary "Fauja Singh: Spirit of the Marathon" and the 2013 film "Unbroken." He cites his Sikh faith and the vegetarian lifestyle his religion dictates as being fundamental to his continued good health and his mental strength and motivation. A biopic, entitled "Fauja" was announced in 2021.
He is a superhero in the British Indian community, Fauja’s story is an inspiring one of perseverance that challenges assumptions about racism, ageism, and disability. A children’s book, "Fauja Singh Keeps Going" is the first major children’s book about a Sikh lead character.
A True Inspiration
Fauja Singh's journey is a reminder that age is just a number and that it is never too late to pursue one's passions.
Now retired and living a quiet life with his son in Ilford, Essex, his dedication to running, philanthropy, and inspiring others has made him a true inspiration and a global icon of resilience and determination. He has left a lasting legacy on the world of long-distance running, and his impact will continue to inspire generations to come.
Fauja Singh is a truly remarkable individual who has achieved great things in his life. He is an inspiration to us all and his story is a testament to the power of the human spirit. Today, there is a group of fellow Sikhs, Team Fauja, made up of Fauja's friends and family, who race competitively to honour Fauja's spectacular achievements.
Buy Fauja Singh Keeps Going, to inspire your little ones.