100-year-old Breaks Guinness World Marathon Record

By Courtney Hutchison, ABC News Medical Unit

Oct 17, 2011 2:03pm

Most centenarians would get out of breath just walking to the get the mail in the morning, but not 100-year-old Fauja Singh.  This Indian-born Brit set a Guinness World Record Sunday when he became the oldest person to ever run a marathon.

In Sunday’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Singh, nicknamed the Turban Tornado, finished  in a little more than eight hours — some six hours after the race’s winner, Kenya’s Kenneth Mungara, according to CDC News in Toronto, Canada.

Singh only speaks Punjabi so his coach and translator, Harmander Singh, told CBC News, “He’s overjoyed. Earlier, just before we came around the [final] corner, he said, ‘Achieving this will be like getting married again.’”

Singh started running 20 years ago at the tender age of 89, after the death of his wife and child. Since then, he has run eight marathons, including Sunday’s. He’s broken records for various distances in the 90-plus and now 100-plus categories and carried the torch during the torch relay for the 2004 Athens Games.

When asked if it might be medically inadvisable to run a marathon at such an age, Dr. David Katz, founding director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, replied: “Nothing you want to do is ‘medically dangerous’ at 100! Waking up and still being here at 100 is medically dangerous. … So since you’ve beaten the odds, I say carpe diem!”

Though CBC News reported that Singh seemed weak and spent following the race, he quickly revived and spoke to the media.

“He said he achieved this through the help of God, but even God must be getting fed up with helping him,” Harmander Singh translated.

At 5 feet 8 and 115 pounds, Singh credits his health with regular exercise, no alcohol or smoking and a vegetarian diet rich in curries, and tea.

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