Britain’s Fauja Singh, the world’s oldest marathon runner, has announced that he is finally going to retire at the ripe old age of 101 – but not until one more 26-mile effort.
The superfit Indian-born athlete, who lives in Ilford, has picked the Hong Kong marathon next month as his last hurrah, which takes place just five weeks before his 102nd birthday.
However, Singh, who ran the first of his eight marathons as an 89-year-old, says that this does not mean he is about to throw away his running shoes.
“I will keep running for at least four hours daily after that,” Singh told the Times of India newspaper during a visit to the land of his birth.
“Running is my life. I will keep running to inspire the masses.”
Singh, nicknamed ‘The Turban Tornado’, has a personal best of five hours, 40 minutes, set back in 2003, making him the world record holder at the distance for a man aged 90 or over.
Last year Singh completed his fifth London marathon in a time of seven hours and 49 minutes and was rewarded with a spot as an Olympic torch bearer.
Singh, born in India in 1911, received a telegram from the Queen for reaching his 100th birthday two years ago, but only took up running seriously at the age of 88.
So just how does he stay so fit as a centenarian?
“The reason for my good health is that I exercise daily and follow a proper diet regime,” he says.
“I take happiness in biggest proportions though my actual diet is very small.
“Nowadays, people are more interested in going to a gym, but I feel that if they exercise regularly on their own they can be physically and mentally strong.
“Daily exercise will keep you away from all diseases.”