101-year-old makes light work of 4-km run

Mumbai, Jan. 21 -- After completing the 4-km run for senior citizens, all Fauja Singh - the world's oldest marathon runner at 101 years - had to say was: "It was easy. I wasn't even tired."

The world record holder from London visited Mumbai for the first time. He has participated in marathons across the world, including London, New York and Hong Kong. He carried the torch at the London Olympics at Newham.

For Sikhs across the city, Fauja's feat was an inspiration. They all came out to cheer him. About 60 members of the Guru Singh Sabha, the central body of gurdwaras in the city, came to meet him.

"When we read about Fauja Singh coming to Mumbai to take part in the marathon, we immediately decided that we would go there with our families," said Kulwant Singh, vice president of the Sabha.

"He is an inspiration to all of us. We invited him to our gurdwara in Dadar, but his schedule was tight and he couldn't make it."

Khushwant Singh, his biographer, has accompanied him to Mumbai.

"It was heartening to see so many people come to support him," he said.

"It was great to see their placards stating how they wanted to be like him."

"Mumbai is a very colourful city," said Fauja, who will return to London on Monday.

Fauja began running in his 80s to help him deal with the loss of his son with whom he lived in India. After he died, Fauja moved to London to stay with his other son.

"Running helped him get over the loss, and he decided to continue" said his biographer.

However, Kulwant Singh said the runner would retire from marathons next month. The Hong Kong marathon will be his last.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.