The world’s oldest marathon runner, Fauja Singh, today set a new official record as the fastest 100-year-old ever to run a 10K.
The sporting legend powered home in 1hr 27 minutes and 45 seconds at the Meadowbank stadium in Edinburgh, during an event to launch the official opening of entries for the Edinburgh Marathon Festival 2012.
And as he crossed the finish line he issued a rallying call for people of all ages to get in shape.
Fauja said: “Impossible is not a word in my native language Punjabi. I believe there is no such thing as impossible. I love running and I love Edinburgh and am really looking forward to returning next year. If I can do it then anyone can.”
With seven marathons and more than 500 races under his belt, all completed after his 89th birthday, Fauja has now promised to run his last ever official race in the team relay race at the Edinburgh Marathon Festival on May 27, 2012.
Robert Cole and other members of the Mile Aye Club, a club made up exclusively of runners who have completed every Edinburgh marathon since the event began in 2003, today trained with Fauja.
And members of GSi Events, the team behind the Edinburgh marathon, also took turns to run on a treadmill so someone was always running during the 10 hour event to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Edinburgh marathon.
Entries are open now, for the Edinburgh Marathon Festival weekend on May 26 and 27 which includes the classic 26.2 mile race as well as a Marathon Team Relay, half marathon, 10K, 5K, two popular junior races and a mascot race.
This year’s marathon in May 2011 attracted more than 26,000 entrants and tens of thousands of spectators from all over the world. Since it started it has had an economic impact of more than £25 million for the capital and helped raise more than £30 million for hundreds of charities.
Together with the Edinburgh marathon’s Official charity Macmillan Cancer Support and hundreds of other charities, the 10th anniversary organisers are hoping to break all previous records and raise more than £4.5 million in 2012.
Neil Kilgour, Edinburgh Marathon Festival Race Director, said: "It’s hard to believe that a decade has gone by since our first event in 2003 but we’re delighted that we have developed into one of the UK’s and Scotland’s major running occasions.
“Edinburgh Marathon Festival has it all – a great city that acts as a stunning backdrop to the event’s proceedings and a programme of races that means that everyone is catered for from children to marathon veterans. We’re looking forward to a great 10th birthday next May and welcoming back the thousands of runners who’ve supported the event over the years plus the thousands who will be joining us for the first time. I would like to encourage anyone who has ever thought that they would “like to” take part to grab the opportunity now and enter a race that challenges them. Nothing beats the feeling of achieving a goal and you can achieve in Edinburgh. Grab the moment and make it happen."
John Comiskey, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Leisure which manages Meadowbank Sports Centre, said: “We are delighted to support Fauja in his run today and I’m sure he will inspire many others to take part in next year’s Edinburgh Marathon and raise significant sums of money for many great charitable causes. Edinburgh is a great city in which to get active and stay healthy and Edinburgh Leisure is looking forward to the Edinburgh Marathon Festival 10 year anniversary celebrations next year.”