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Centenarian completes full marathon
October 17, 2011 8:21 AM   Subscribe

Feeling tired today? Back a little sore from that yard work? Morning run left your knees aching? Maybe you just had a lazy weekend. Well, in case you aren't frustrated enough with yourself for what you're (not) accomplishing, enjoy the story of Fauja Singh. Yesterday, the 100 year old became the oldest person ever to complete a full marathon, finishing the 42 km Toronto Waterfront Marathon in under 9 hours (beating his personal target).

To add some context to the accomplishment, the race also claimed a 27 year old fatality.
posted by dry white toast (30 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
To add further anecdotal context, the team I curled against in the evening following the marathon was short a player in his 30's because he was getting oxygen after finishing the marathon.

Also, I live on the marathon route and saw Mr. Singh go by. Wish I had been at the finish line to cheer him on.
posted by dry white toast at 8:23 AM on October 17, 2011


He started running marathons at 89, and this is his tenth. So, c'mon, no biggie.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:32 AM on October 17, 2011


Amazing that a race can go back in time and kill someone 27 years ago.
posted by DU at 8:38 AM on October 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


But this was in Canada. How old would he be if the marathon was in the US?
posted by hal9k at 8:43 AM on October 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


As of today, he'd only be about 98 in the US.
posted by bonehead at 8:47 AM on October 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was about to point out that there's also an English Sikh fellow who's 100 years old and runs marathons...and that it's an amazing coincidence...hmmm.

Anyway, I hope he gets given some honorary place at the Olympics next year, like torchbearing. He lives only just down the road, so it would be a shame if he missed out.
posted by Jehan at 8:51 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Great, one more thing to make old people insufferable.

"That's the problem with kids these days, can't run a full marathon. Why back in my day..."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:01 AM on October 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I heard that they are testing the DNA of some woman who lived to 115. Already we hear tea party complaints that only 50 percent of people pay taxes (which seems completely reasonable when most people work only 50 percent of their life - if we subtract school and retirement). I'm not a mathematician, but this all seems like a sinister conspiracy.
posted by Bitter soylent at 9:19 AM on October 17, 2011


This should be impossible. But it's not. And that's pretty cool.
posted by tommasz at 9:23 AM on October 17, 2011


Singh also has the world record for the 90+ marathon. Before he came along it was 7 hours and 56 minutes. He has lowered that to 5 hours and 40 minutes. No, that is not a typo. He ran a half marathon in just over 2:33 for another 90+ record. Before running this most recent marathon he also set age group records at every distance from 100m to 5K (mile time: 11:53.45, if you want a target).

This race also had another exceptional age group runner - Ed Whitlock. Mr. Whitlock is the only person over the age of 70 to run a sub three hour marathon and he lowered his own 80+ record in the marathon to 3:15 and change in the same race.

I mean, just in case you weren't feeling fat, lazy, and worthless enough.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 9:24 AM on October 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


man, this makes my pathetic attempts to run a 5k look even more pathetic.
posted by sio42 at 9:30 AM on October 17, 2011


sio42, hey, he didn't start until he turned 89, so you've got a few years to get prepped.
posted by GuyZero at 9:39 AM on October 17, 2011


I'm 54. I'm doing my best to maintain a very active lifestyle. I feel really great most of the time, but the biggest thing holding me back is not will power or lack of energy it is injuries. I have sports-related injuries much more often AND they take so much longer to recover from. Right now I am trying to recover from a pulled hip flexor-- one bad move and I'm away from the gym for over two weeks. It kills me.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:42 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Full results. He ran it in 8:25:16.3, averaging about 3 miles/hr.
posted by zippy at 10:23 AM on October 17, 2011


9 hours? I doubt I could finish in 9 days, and I'm about half his age!
posted by Old'n'Busted at 10:31 AM on October 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


fuck yeah!
posted by rainperimeter at 11:09 AM on October 17, 2011


I waiting until I am 89 to run my first. The only exercise I get now is jumping to conclusions and running my mouth.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:10 AM on October 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


People need to "get oxygen" after running marathons?
posted by stroke_count at 11:44 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Running a marathon in five hours is in many ways more dangerous than running it in three hours. Dehydration becomes more of a hazard, particularly. To put in nine hours of constant effort at 100 must require amazing strategization and well as endurance.

My preferred marathon strategy is to run a good hard 5k then jump on a bus.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:44 AM on October 17, 2011


jesus christ on a leash... his 5K time is better than mine, and I'm 43 and a competitive bicycle racer.
posted by lonefrontranger at 12:13 PM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


If someone else feels like comparing times (I suggest you don't, rebuilding self-esteem takes time), this is from his Wikipedia page:
At the age of 100 (and a half), Singh attempted and accomplished eight world age group records in one day, at the special Ontario Masters Association Fauja Singh Invitational Meet, held at Birchmount Stadium in Toronto, Ontario Canada. Timed by officials in Canada,[9] Singh ran the 100 metres in 23.14, 200 metres in 52.23, the 400 metres in 2:13.48, the 800 metres in 5:32.18, the 1500 metres in 11:27.81, the Mile in 11:53.45, the 3000 metres in 24:52.47 and the 5000 metres in 49:57.39. Each time bested the previous record in that age division (some events had no previous record holder as nobody over age 100 had ever attempted to run the distance). Some of his marks are significantly superior to the listed world record in the M95 age group as well.
posted by vidur at 12:28 PM on October 17, 2011


I have run the Toronto Waterfront Marathon (and posted the worst time there out of the 10 I've done)...it may not look like a tough route, but it's no joke: you're running most of it on concrete highway overpasses--which is terrible for your knees in addition to the added difficulty of going up and down hills--in a sun-exposed, windy area. Running your first marathon is tough and scary at any age; to do that one at 100 commands all my respect.
posted by psoas at 12:49 PM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I mean, just in case you weren't feeling fat, lazy, and worthless enough.

Fat and lazy, sure, but I don't see what's so non-worthless about running a marathon.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:03 PM on October 17, 2011


This guy really had me feeling bad about myself, until I noticed his stupid t-shirt.

Oh, great accomplishment, stupid shirt wearer!
posted by orme at 1:22 PM on October 17, 2011


jesus christ on a leash... his 5K time is better than mine, and I'm 43 and a competitive bicycle racer.

Even though it wasn't clear from your description, I'm assuming you can beat his 5k time while riding your bike? If not, I need to give competitive cycling a second look.
posted by dry white toast at 1:44 PM on October 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hell, I'm only 60% his age and I finished a marathon. /missing the point
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:02 PM on October 17, 2011


As of today, he'd only be about 98 in the US.

True. Metric calendars and all that.
posted by modernnomad at 2:43 PM on October 17, 2011


Personally, one of the things holding me back from a marathon is the time required. I trained for a half-marathon last year, and that would take an hour or more from each day. Combine that with a work schedule and other activities, and that seems to be a large part of each training day. I figured double that for a full marathon, and was put off the idea.

But if you're 100, retired, and probably not a lot of colleagues around, you might have plenty of time to train!
posted by Metro Gnome at 8:16 PM on October 17, 2011


dry white toast: you are correct, I should probably clarify that. On foot I comprehensively suck, which is actually not all that uncommon for cyclists who don't also do multisport/triathlon training. Most competitive amateur cyclists are about as limber as a cinderblock, and on foot have all the agility of a 4x8' sheet of plywood, with the added bonus of the characteristic gonzo super-specialized, hypertrophied leg muscle that makes running feel as tho one is attempting to do so with a set of 20# lead weights strapped to one's knees. I had to bleed out my ears just to run a 10 minute mile in high school, and 25 years of age and bike racing have done zero to improve that.

I was also looking at his 5K times posted for the 90+ records (I'm assuming he posted those some years back?).

On a bike, I'm a pretty decent criterium (short track) racer, "decent" meaning "for values of old ladies at an intermediate amateur level".

running? yea, fuck that noise. mr. lfr has been trying to spur me into doing some trail running with him as crosstraining this fall and winter, and I'm thinking a gun to the head would be preferable.
posted by lonefrontranger at 9:09 AM on October 18, 2011


I trained for a half-marathon last year, and that would take an hour or more from each day.

Er, that is too much. No wonder you don't want to go any farther. A first-marathon training program should have you running three or four days a week plus one or two days of some sort of cross-training. Rest and recovery are very important to building stamina.
posted by psoas at 10:19 AM on October 18, 2011


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