Here’s a Sonny Side of Sports salute for Fauja Singh, the 101-year-old Turbaned Tornado who has stormed through the record books with his late in life running exploits. Singh announced in Hong Kong February 24 that he’s done with competitive races, but he’s not done with running.
“I will not lose confidence,” Singh said through an interpreter in his native Punjabi language. “I have been running for four to five hours every day and I will keep on doing so. This is why I am still alive. If I stop working, my life would no longer be a success and I would fail. I would lose my charm then.”
The British Indian athlete has charmed fans, competitors and organizers alike since he returned to running in his late 80s. Fauja says as a young man, he was an avid
runner, and he returned to the sport with renewed focus after the deaths of a son, a daughter and his wife.
Since making his marathon debut in London in 2000, the Turbaned Tornado has completed seven more marathons and broken age group records along the way. He has attributed his longevity and physical fitness to a simple vegetarian diet and abstaining from smoking and alcohol.
Singh is also believed to be the oldest person ever to complete a marathon. He finished the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 2011. While there are no more marathons for the Turbaned Tornado, he says he’ll keep running “to inspire the masses.”