You would assume that someone at the ripe old age of 101 would either be relaxing at home whiling away their time, or taking a stroll in the park. However, not for Fauja Singh (no relation to me) as the 101-year old legend is nothing short of an extraordinary human, and many people can certainly learn a few things or two from him. Fauja means Soldier in Panjabi language, and he stands by his name all the way! Singh, who started taking running seriously at the ripe old age of 89 years old after his son and wife passed away, holds UK records for the 200m, 400m, 800m, 1000m, and 3000m for his age group, records all set within a single 94-minute period. He attributes his physical fitness and longevity to abstaining from smoking and alcohol and to following a simple vegetarian diet.
On the 17th of October 2011, Fauja Singh amazed the world when he completed a 42-kilometre marathon at the Toronto waterfront to enter the Guinness Book of World Records. Setting a new record, he finished the Scotia bank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in eight hours, 11 minutes and 5.9 seconds and became the world’s oldest marathoner.
Yesterday, at the age of 101, Fauja Singh completed the 26.2 miles London Marathon. With this marathon, Fauja Singh has run eight marathons including the London and New York races. Prior to yesterday's race, the great man confirmed that he is retiring from major marathons, but will continue to do small runs (5km is ‘short’ by his standards).
Surely Fauja Singh's achievements must be accounted for as humankind's most remarkable feats. For his achievement NOT to be reported by some of the world’s major media outlets, the weekend newspapers, magazines, commercial radio, or television makes you wonder how myopic the global media really is. Beatles photos going on sale, ongoing election ramblings, hopeless espionage stories, hens laying 'eggless' chicks, and rockets by developing nations flying into space taking precedent. It’s just surprising how low media can be sometimes. It's completely diabolical.
My concerns are these:
1. Surprisingly it was NOT a story in many news services around the world except the BBC. Why? It beggars belief that major news outlets have room on their websites about princes joking on running at a marathon, or even about sharks and crocs being caught by someone…but nothing about a truly remarkable human being who through his actions is showing the world what great feats can be achieved when you put your heart and mind into something (and at that age as well)..
2. He is not some old aged pensioner from down the road - he is a respected and distinguished runner who has broken WORLD records. He has previously been featured alongside David Beckham, and Mohammad Ali on an Adidas advert.
3. He is a living inspiration for MILLIONS of people who dream to keep fit and live LONG through exercise and eating good food. How many 100-year old people do we know that can even run for 1 mile let alone for 26 MILES?!
4. This was his LAST major marathon, and a special one too because his inspiration for running came about by watching the London Marathon on television before he started running at the age of 89 years old. Again, question that lingers on many mouths is WHY was he not mentioned?
5. When Fauja Singh ran in the Hong Kong marathon earlier this year, even at that time the Hong Kong media did not report on his achievements.
Honestly? This man deserves more media attention than he gets. What exactly is going on in newsrooms when stories like this go amiss? What else are they missing at the weekends? Where's Rupert when you need his assistance?
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