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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 April, 2004, 10:57 GMT 11:57 UK
Singh tunes up for record
London Marathon race director David Bedford gets in some practice with Fauja Singh
Singh (right) may retire from racing after finishing on The Mall
Fauja Singh is aiming to set a new world record in the London Marathon.

Present record holder Paul Tergat can rest easy as Singh is not chasing his target of two hours, four minutes and 55 seconds.

Instead he is hoping to break the six-hour mark and set a new age group best. The Punjab-born runner is 93.

Singh has raised thousands of pounds for premature baby charity BLISS in his four previous London runs: "I'm only too pleased to do this," he said.

The nonagenarian, who lives in Ilford, Essex, finished last year's Toronto Waterfront Marathon in a time of 5:40:03 and wants to better that mark in London.

More recently, he ran the New York Marathon where he had to endure taunts of "Hey Bin Laden!" along the 26-mile route, although the Sikh brushed them off and said he was not hurt by the barbs.

Some would suggest the pain of a marathon would be more than enough to bear - particularly at an age when most Ilford OAPs would be happy to reach for the pipe and slippers as opposed to running vest and trainers.

Singh was born in 1911 and was an amateur runner in the Punjab before giving up the sport in 1947 at the age of 36.

Everyone tells me that the older he gets the faster he gets
David Bedford,
London Marathon race director
However, when his wife died and Singh moved to London to live with his youngest son he decided to don the trainers and pound the streets again.

The former farmer runs an average of eight miles a day to stay in shape and puts his success down to a diet of green curries and regular meditation.

"I am very happy that I have been able to do this and it's God's gift that people like me are able to do it for others who come later on," he said.

"I feel the good work that I am doing is more important than getting the fame."

Singh recently won a sponsorship deal from Adidas and donated the 3,000 he earned from a photo-shoot to BLISS.

He is thinking of retiring from competitive running after the race but has plans to return at the age of 98 to break the world record for the oldest marathon runner.




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