101-Year-Old Runner Retires. Bigger Surprise? When He Started.

Would you believe that a 101-year-old man is just now retiring—from running?

According to the Associated Press, 101-year-old Fauja Singh of Great Britain ran his last competitive race this week, a 6.25-mile event that he finished in just over 90 minutes. However, this isn’t the first time Singh has made headlines. Last year, he became the first man over the age of 100 to run a full marathon of 24.2 miles.

Incredible. This is what a lifetime of strict athletic training can do. … Or is it?

Shockingly, it’s not. Like a famous deep-fried Kentucky colonel, Fauja Singh did not begin the endeavor that would define his legacy until much later in life. Singh ran his first race in 2000 at age 89. (Harland “Colonel” Sanders was 65 when he began franchising KFC.) But why?

Why would an 89-year-old man suddenly strive to compete in marathon running—one of the most high-impact physical activities the human body can endure?

In 1995, Singh suffered the loss of not just a beloved wife but a son as well. Like so many of us dealing with a traumatic event in life, he simply wanted to feel alive again. That motivation drove Fauja to complete a total of nine marathons, spanning the globe from London to Toronto, New York and Hong Kong. He transformed himself from a poor subsistence farmer to Sir Fauja Singh and inspired millions around the globe.

So here’s to you, Sir Fauja Singh. May your story continue to inspire even while your shoes are retired.


For more information about Singh’s story, read his biography, Turbaned Tornado. It’s available online and on store shelves.

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