Fauja Singh is 102 and is believed to be the world's oldest runner. Since taking up running, aged 89, he has run nine full marathons. Singh retired from competitive races in February after completing a 10K race in Hong Kong. But he still jogs every day in east London. He talked to Nadeem Badshah about what running means to him and how he keeps himself in shape.
I am physically active, walking, jogging and running for at least four hours a day. In the past, it was more running, some jogging, little bit of walking. Now it's a complete reverse. When I cannot do something, due to bad weather or travelling, I make up for it when I get back into my routine. It keeps my body and mind active.
The last race I did was a 10K in Hong Kong in February during which I fell. I got up and finished five minutes faster than the previous year. I had the publicity, self-realisation, it was a fantastic race. As I crossed the line, all the claps and recognition gave me a lot of joy. I also realised it was my last race.
My body is not as strong as it was. People who don't run don't realise it's not just about turning up. They forget you need to be strong even for the travel. When I go abroad, people say: "Can we come?" I say: "Yes but I don't think you will last a day." I enjoyed being at peak fitness, although it wasn't easy to stay at the top. But I enjoyed that discipline. I went to my coach Harmander Singh's house recently. He was exhausted after running a marathon. I was pleased for him but I thought: "I used to do that."
Now I've come to terms with the fact that I don't race any more. I make the best of what I've got. I am still covering distances – although it might take a bit longer now. Running was God's way of distracting me from suffering mentally from the loss of my wife and son.
Running took over my time and thoughts, it was God's way of keeping me alive and making me what I am today and I'm grateful for that. I had no idea I would live this long and would achieve anything, it wasn't a plan. I bumped into people like Harmander who helped shape my life and got the best out of me.
I am still benefiting from the 14 years of running and am able to enjoy life. Since February, I've been to Australia, Las Vegas, Dubai, Denmark, Switzerland, France, and Luxembourg. At the Bournemouth Marathon festival, I was the celebrity starter for the children's races. I've been invited to Washington for an award, and I've been invited to New Delhi to start a sports tournament.
As long as people remember me, don't forget what I've done, and still there are things to do. It's more pain than gain, but that pain gives you happiness afterwards. I do not see it as putting myself through torture.
Whatever pain and suffering I've had, reaped benefits multiple times. Every day when I wake up I rub baby oil on my body to keep me supple. Every day I have linseed and a cup of tea. Before I leave home, I have plain yogurt and two glasses of water. Lunch is one chapatti and daal [lentils] made at the gurdwara with yoghurt. I won't touch cauliflower, rice, or sweets made of rice as it doesn't do me any good. At home, I will have whatever is being made with my youngest son and his family. If I don't like what they're having, I'll have toast with jam or honey on it. And before I go to bed I will have a glass of warm milk. I also have ginger curry at least once a week which cleanses the body. If I feel ill or different, I reflect on what has changed in my diet and routine. I am still active, in a better shape than those who are lazy. They are deteriorating, I am maintaining it so who is the winner? Being active is like a medication. I don't want to withdraw from that medication.