There are few people I admire as much as Fauja Singh, vegetarian centenarian Sikh marathoner, who recently retired from marathon running just before turning 102. I almost feel like converting to Sikhism because of his example.
According to his biography on Wikipedia:
Fauja Singh was born in Beas Pind, Jalandhar, Punjab, British India on 1 April 1911, the youngest of four children. Fauja did not develop the ability to walk until he was five years old. His legs were thin and weak, and he could hardly walk long distances. Because of this, he was often teased, and had to carry the nickname “danda” (Punjabi: दण्ड) for the next ten years. As a young man, Fauja was an avid amateur runner, but he had to give it up and return to farming due to the 1947 India-Pakistan Partition. It was only after witnessing the death of his fifth son, Kuldip, in a construction accident in August 1994, that Fauja returned to his passion for running, in 1995. The deaths of his wife in 1992, and his eldest daughter who had died from complications after giving birth to his third granddaughter, gave him the determination for this new focus in life.
At 89 years, he took seriously to running and ended up in international marathon events.
Although he doesn’t run marathons any more, he still runs for pleasure. He holds many world running records for his age group. The fact that he learned to walk later than most should quiet the excuse-maker too many of us have in our brains about why we can’t run or exercise on a regular basis. Besides this, he’s a shining example of how a vegetarian diet is more than adequate even for elite athletes. His ability to overcome very tragic life events is also inspiring.
Whenever you have trouble sticking to your fitness routine, keep the amazing Fauja Singh in mind. Although he’s not a joggler(which is hardly a shortcoming for him!), I probably wouldn’t be a joggler right now if it wasn’t for his example.
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