Being an athlete does not come with an age constraint. That’s the mentality that Fauja Singh, the world’s oldest marathon runner, has to this day. Born in April 1911 in Punjab, India, Singh has since moved to England where he took part in many races throughout his lifetime. But running was not originally in the cards for him.
Singh’s legs were so weak that he could not walk until the age of 5. Eventually, he grew stronger, and at the age of 89, he ran his first marathon in London. For a man who could barely walk in his adolescent years, how did he grow to become a strong, inspiring marathon runner? According to Religion News, Fauja Singh says the key to a long, balanced life is nutritious eating.
To coincide with his advice, Singh has become an advocate for health and wellness. He has encouraged people of all ages to exercise and eat healthy, all while treating the world and all creation with respect. The article also states that Singh has supported People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in campaigns to support vegetarian diets.
Study authors from the University of Glasgow helped to show that the vegetarian diet has some great benefits that could lead to a healthy, longer lifestyle. The authors examined the self-reported diet habits of healthy adults in the United Kingdom, ranging from 37 to 73 years old. The group of 166,516 people was split into vegetarians and meat-eaters.
The research showed that despite common risk factors of age, sex, education, ethnicity, obesity, smoking, and alcohol intake, vegetarians showed “significantly lower” levels of 13 biomarkers. These included total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and proteins linked to cardiovascular disease. Some of the biomarkers are also connected to a lower risk of liver function, kidney function, and cancer cells.
It is also important to stress that although supporting vegetarianism, the world’s oldest runner followed a healthy, nutritious diet. That entails not eating ultra-processed foods, which can increase the risk of mortality.
Although no longer actively competing and participating in marathons, Singh ran until he reached his 100s. He has held many age-related world records, including the 100-meter run and the marathon for men over 100. Today, Singh continues to remain active by walking about five miles a day around the London neighborhoods. He still prefers to walk around as his mode of transportation, but he does have a passion for racing motorcycles.
Throughout his growing fame, Singh was a spokesperson and influence. He highlighted issues like classism, racism, literacy bias, ableism, and ageism. He also has refused to make personal gain from the money obtained through his sponsorships. Instead, he insisted that all sponsorship money be donated to charity.
Kayla Garritano is a Staff Writer for Eat This, Not That! She graduated from Hofstra University, where she majored in Journalism and double minored in Marketing and Creative Writing. Read more