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FAUJA SINGH: The World’s Oldest Marathoner



Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Oct 19, 2011
Kanwal Prakash Singh

Fauja Singh, a Sikh runner from Great Britain, at age 100 created another astonishing human legend by successfully completing the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on Sunday.  He completed the 26.2-mile marthon in 8 hours 25 minutes and 16 seconds and entered the Guinness World Record for his age category as the first human being to accomplish the gruelling feat.  He crossed the finish line with several Sikhs friends to the resounding Jaikaras: the Sikh joyful acclaimations of triumphant gratitude to God.  The world of passionate runners has a new hero and he immaculately dresses with the full insignia and regalia of his Sikh faith: a flowing white beard, a gold turban, and a sparkling spirit that is disarming and filled with gratitude, excitement, and unbound optimism that is contagious.


Fauja Singh carries an aura of a respected elder, a beloved friend, and a person with a deep abiding faith in his own destiny.  He is supportive of many humanitarian and youth causes.  He is a cherished presence at many cultural celebrations in the United States and Canada.  His life is a remarkable lesson in simplicity, dignity, humility, and living his faith in service to others.

Fauja Singh is a running sensation, turbaned tornado, a marathon man for all seasons.


Sardar Fauja Singh also shattered eight different records, for distances ranging from 100 meters to   5,000 meters in his age category, during this week at Scarborough’s Birchmount Stadium.  His attempt to compete and having completed the full marthon at age over 100 is the one for the record books, adding a new chapter to his folklore and placing him among those who were pioneers in other conquests in other fields and at other times.  This was another triumph of human determination and incredible endurance.  For his successful effort, Fauja Singh received the well-deserved and rightly-earned accolades and congratulations from young and old people from around the world.

Fauja Singh reminds us of the unimagined spirit and human passion against odds reflected in the movie “Chariots of Fire.”  Our mind tries to grasp the brave explorers of the fifteenth century who traveled the dangerous high seas and connected us with cultures in distant lands for the first time and introduced us to man’s tireless search for identity and truth about his universe, his ancient discoveries and excellences in arts and sciences.  We are reminded of the great builders of majestic cathedrals in Europe in Middle Ages and their work and imagination touched the skies. We think of the astronauts of twentieth century who opened the high-definition window to space and brought us face to face with the awesome magnificience of the unfathomable Universe of which our Earth is but a tiny speck in the Cosmos teaming with billions of stars and galaxies.

Each expedition set a new marker of human achievement and affirmed the innate premordial desire to know and stretch the limits of what is possible.  These great men are symbols of something for greater than their physical feat; they changed the course of human history and thinking and inspired countless millions to do great things.  Fauja Singh lives with this faith: “Impossible is nothing” and the giant trailblazers of the past made this reality manifest: that the impossible is possible when human mind and incredible energy is harnessed to its fullest capacity and matched with imagination and daring to make it happen.  Throughout history, the ordinary souls stepped forward, gave their all, and left behind extraordinary testimony that stands as brilliant milestones along the journey of human civilization.  They were rewarded for their visions, their pioneering spirit and striving; we salute their faith and legacy.


Fauja Singh was born in a village in Punjab and migrated to England about 25 years ago.  He started running at the age of 89 to ovecome the loss of his wife and son.  Since then, this   marathon runner has participated in many racing competitons around the world.  This modest    5-foot-8 “giant,” weighing only115-pounds, owes his success to his simple living, simple vegetarian food, and his deep faith in God and his Sikh faith.  His first name, Fauja, means soldier and his last name, Singh, means a lion, a suffix for all Sikh men


The following comments originally appeared this week on a respected worldwide website.  The admirers and supporters of Fauja Singh may enjoy the pride and personal excitement that I felt over Sardar Fauja Singh’s marathon achievements.  His first name means soldier and last name means a lion, as suffix for all Sikh men.  If some of you wish to meet and personally congratulate this elegant Sardar, he is one of the honored guests at this year’s SikhLens Arts and Film Festival (November 18-20, 2011) in Orange, California.

K.P. Singh (Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A.), October 17, 2011:

Dear Sardar Fauja Singh ji: Along with your remarkable personal achievement and setting a world record, I expect for the ages, you have lifted our spirit sky high.  You have personified your faith and conviction that with Satguru's Grace, "Impossible is nothing."  We are proud of your completing the Toronto Marathon and you have reminded each of us that we too have the capacity and responsibility to compete and excel in the Holla Mohallas of our times and make our Gurus and the Sikh Nation proud, and uplift the human spirit.  When we are humble and tireless in worthy pursuits, then God, our Gurus, and the spontaneous applause of the human race make the impossible possible: "jaan too(n) tusay meharvaan acchint vussay munn aaye" - "When God's Grace is upon us, the undreamed- of in our mind and spirit becomes manifest."  Your incredible accomplishment and resolve offer us a testimony of that Truth.  Your triumph at the young age of 100 has sent a resounding echo of your optimism, grace, and all-embracing persona across cultures, faiths, and communities around the world.  For that lesson and inspiration, we are grateful to Satguru, to you, and to your legions of admirers who wish you well.  We are rejoicing in your being an outstanding role model for the human race.  You have provided a new challenge to millions of us today and that is to be celebrated with robust "jaikaras" and faithful acknowledgement that all Sikhs offer at the end of daily prayers, "All victories belong to God!" and that we are all instruments in the Divine Will and Play.  Yet, we know that God places His Hand on chosen shoulders to help us see things that transform the human mind and spirit.  We are delighted to see that you represent divinely inspired excellences of which running is only a temporal task and symbol.  You represent, even in this very troubling times, what is right, noble, and reassuring about humanity.  Thank you for this timeless gift.

Kanwal Prakash Singh (Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A.), October 13, 2011:

In Sardar Fauja Singh, we find an exemplary spirit and rare wisdom and an outstanding role model.  We are awed by his modesty, courage, sense of humor, splendid personality, abiding faith, and his promise to give generously of himself to life and all that is noble and worthy.  His life, spirit, and persona radiate the lessons of his Sikh faith that also find a reaffirming echo in all cultures and sacred traditions.  We have every reason to express our unbound joy, pride, and unbridled excitement about Fauja Singh, but this precious "gem" belongs to the entire human race.  He personifies all this is, and can be, good, uplifting, and unifying under the heavens about humanity.  We will be shouting jaikaras as he competes and excels in various races this week in Toronto: there goes the beloved son of Guru Gobind Singh, a 'lukh hazaari' of the Sikh Nation.  We will be praying for his long life and many more distinguished achievements, and for his continued inspiration to our lives and to the lives of young and old across the universe.  Our love, pride, and blessings travel with you, Sardar Fauja Singh ji.  Good Running and God Speed!







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