‘World’s Oldest’ Marathon Runner to Retire after One Final Race

British runner Fauja Singh, 101, says he'll hang up his sneakers following the Hong Kong Marathon next month.

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Mohsin Raza/REUTERS

Fauja Singh at the start of a short version of the 6 km International Marathon in Lahore, 30 January 2005

A 101-year-old British Sikh who is considered to be the world’s oldest marathon runner is ready to hang up his sneakers, reports the Times of India.

The 10km race held during the Hong Kong Marathon on Feb. 24 will be Fauja Singh’s last event, he told the newspaper — but he intends to keep running at least four hours a day after that.

Singh, dubbed the “Turbaned Tornado,” was born in Punjab, but has lived in Britain since 1992. He came to marathon running relatively late, at the age of 89. A member of London’s ‘Sikhs in the City’ running club, he finished his fifth London Marathon last year in a time of seven hours and 49 minutes, and has competed in eight 26-mile races in London, Toronto and New York. Last year, he became the U.K.’s oldest Olympic torchbearer, reports the Ilford Recorder.

(MORE: A 100-Year Old Man Finished a Marathon. What Have You Done Today?)

He has now reluctantly admitted that age has finally caught up with him, reports the Times of India.

“But I will keep running to inspire the masses,” he said. “Running is my life and I really would not have stopped competing if I had not crossed the age of 100,” he said.

What’s his secret? Pretty simple actually:

“The reason for my good health is that I exercise daily and follow a proper diet regime,” the Times of India quoted him as saying. “I take happiness in biggest proportions though my actual diet is very small.”

(MORE: Final Countdown: 5 Training Tips for the Last Weeks Before a Big Race)

“Nowadays, people are more interested in going to a gym, but I feel that if they exercise regularly on their own they can be physically and mentally strong.

Daily exercise will keep you away from all diseases.”

Singh’s career has not been without controversy. He says he was born on April 1, 1911 – a claim that cannot be proven because he has no birth certificate, having grown up in a rural Punjab community where such documents were not issued. That prevented him from being officially honored by Guinness World Records as the oldest marathon runner in history, a ruling that prompted accusations of racism.

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