101-year-old man completes last marathon before retirement

By: CBS News
By: CBS News

At the bang of the starting gun, thousands of runners took off to compete in 10-kilometer race in Hong Kong on Sunday.

For 101-year-old British-Indian, Fauja Singh, this run was a celebration of his retirement and marked the end of his competitive running career.

Singh, who has six children, 18 grandchildren and a countless number of great-grandchildren, jogged in the company of 100 people from the local Indian community.

Born before the First World War in 1911, Singh was hailed as the oldest
marathon runner when he finished the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in about eight hours in 2011.

The Guinness Book of Records would not officially grant him the title of "the oldest marathon runner in the world" because this requires a birth certificate that Singh could not provide.

Singh knows his date of birth and it's also on his passport, but there is no official documentation as he was born before the time of birth certificates.

And now, approaching his 102nd birthday on April 1, Singh finished his last race and crossing the finishing line in one hour, 32 minutes and 28 seconds.

The 101-year-old with a grey beard and amber turban said he was no longer in his prime, but was still happy with his performance.

"I am feeling very happy from the bottom of my heart. I used to run five kilometers in just half the time, but God broke my pride. But still, I am very happy," Singh said.

Although his career has come to an end, Singh said he would not give up running after his retirement.

"I will not lose confidence. 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," Singh said.

As of Sunday 10 a.m. local time, Singh's participation had raised around $160,000 HKD ($20,628 USD) for charity. He said he would continue to help raise money for charity.

Over 34,000 runners joined Singh in the 10-km race, divided into six sessions.

Around 570 runners sought medical help, among whom 18 were hospitalized and two remained in critical condition, according to organizers.

(Copyright 2013, CBS News)

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