Age shall not weary man of the moment

PUBLISHED : Monday, 06 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 06 February, 2012, 12:00am
 

The media darling of the marathon, Fauja Singh, completed the 10km race and his example spurred, and perhaps shamed, younger men in the local Sikh community to join him.

'We had close to 40 people from the Sikh community running with him today. He is an inspiration to all of us,' said Gill Gurmeet Singh, the man responsible for bringing the 100-year-old 'Turbaned Torpedo' to town.

'He is very famous in our community and it is great to see him doing things like this at his age.'

The presence of the yellow T-shirted and turbaned brotherhood was also helpful for Fauja Singh, who said they shepherded him towards the finish line.

'I'm old and a little bit weak, not as strong as I used to be, and by being around me they protected me,' he said after completing the course in one hour, 34 minutes and 54 seconds.

'It was very crowded and there were a lot of people, but I really enjoyed running in Hong Kong. This is my first time and I have liked everything I have seen in Hong Kong and I like the people, too.

'My goal was to finish in one hour and 30 minutes. It is not my personal best but I am satisfied with the result. I felt great and very comfortable,' he added holding a small Hong Kong flag.

While 40-odd Sikhs joined Singh on the run, the rest of the community also got into the spirit of it all.

After a meeting late yesterday afternoon, they decided to grant their hero his wish by donating HK$100,000 to the Seeing is Believing charity run by title sponsors Standard Chartered.

On his arrival in town, Singh let it be known that he wished to raise HK$1,000 for every year he has been on the planet.

'I'm here to run for the charity Seeing is Believing and I hope I can raise HK$100,000, a thousand dollars for every year of my life,' said Singh, who lives in London.

His wishes were granted when the Sikh community and wellwishers donated that sum, resulting in HK$200,000 being raised for the charity as the bank has pledged to match any donations.

In 2000, Singh completed the London Marathon in six hours and 54 minutes and became the oldest marathon runner last October when he completed the Toronto Waterfront event. But these days he knows his limitations and only takes part in shorter races.

The enormity of his deeds will benefit hundreds of others, with the money raised to be used for operations that will give sight to the blind.

When asked his secret to his surprisingly long-lasting health, he replied: 'Eat simple food and small portions.'

Fauja Singh has already scheduled to participate in the Luxembourg marathon in May, but will only run the 5km race.

Go to http://vimeo.com/36220535 to watch our coverage of the marathon.

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