Fauja Singh

by Ishwinder Kaur Battoo from San Diego

Fauja Singh- Worlds oldest marathon runner (
Fauja Singh- Worlds oldest marathon runner (

"Impossible is Nothing" - Adidas's slogan. If a man the age of one hundred years old can run a marathon "Impossible is Nothing..." On April 1st 1911 in Punjab India, a baby boy was born. He was given the name Fauja meaning army in Punjabi. However, he was anything but physically strong, born with a disability that prevented him from walking until the age of ten. Years went by and Fauja lived the life of a typical Punjabi farmer, he married and had three sons and three daughters. In 1992 his wife passed away and although he grieved he accepted this loss with a positive attitude, as being a part of life. Two years after his wife's passing Fauja's dearest son died in a tragic accident when a storm hit his farm in Punjab. With the unexpected death of one so young Fauja Singh was distraught and went into depression. It was not until the age of 89 that he found the inner strength and determination to overcome his loss and focus on something positive. Inspired by watching a marathon on TV he decided to channel his energy into training for marathons. "He became the first centenarian to complete a marathon when he ran the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 8 hours, 11 minutes and 6 seconds in 2011"("The Runner"). Fauja became the first man to run a marathon at the age of one hundred. With his determination, constant positive attitude and his immense amount of strength Fauja Singh continuously achieves his goals inspiring others to do the same.

Fauja Singh's determination is one of the main reasons he has gotten to where he is today. With his steadfast attitude and his determination to go far he has achieved numerous accomplishments. Fauja was born with a disability; his legs were too weak to support his body causing him to not be able to walk. "Family members worried he might be crippled for life, so they consulted village doctors. Finally, at age 5, he developed enough strength to hobble. Proper walking didn't come until around age 10" (Singh). Fauja was determined to change his fate and show people he was not just a man with a disability. Nearly one century later he has shown the world that with determination any one can do anything. He has made the world aware that because of determination a man the age of one hundred years old can do the "impossible." Everything Fauja does shows his determination to finish whatever he has started. This characteristic is especially shown during his races, particularly the race he ran in New York: "Blisters formed, and soon they burst, the blood filling Fauja's sock. His run became a walk; his walk became a hobble but whenever they asked whether he needed help, Fauja just waved them away. He would finish" ("The Runner"). Fauja's mind was set, he would finish that race and not give up no matter what; even if it caused him pain. He wanted to show the New Yorkers (Americans) how strong the Sikhs are, how determined they are. In fact Fauja shows this mind set in everything that he does. People already respected and acknowledged him for what he was doing and they wouldn't have thought any less of him if he had stopped, but Fauja being the determined person that he is stuck through it and refused to quit the race. Quitting was never an option. Throughout his 103 years of life Fauja Singh has expressed to the world how determined he is and how others can follow in his footsteps to achieve great things like he has done.

A positive attitude continuously exudes from Fauja, whether it's at his races or it's just in his normal daily life. Fauja is the type of person who always thinks of the positive things in life and is always happy, spreading that joy to those all around him. "As he says [to CNN] " 'Life is a waste without humor -- living is all about happiness and laughter'" (Morley). Like Fauja says, what is the point of living if you don't enjoy what you do or who you are with? To have a good life you have to have laughter and be happy with who you are and who is around you. Fauja is no hypocrite, this quote plays an enormous part in his life. Fauja is always positive and makes others laugh and feel positive and happy about themselves. And Fauja makes himself joyous by keeping a positive attitude to encourage him and make his life happier. "In 1992, [Fauja's] wife died. Fauja grieved but felt thankful, celebrating a long life well lived. He was 81 now, surely approaching death himself, and he was happy to live out his remaining days." ("The Runner"). After his wife died Fauja could have grieved for years and thought of all the negative effects that came with the passing of his beloved wife. But instead Fauja decided to look at the positives of his wife's passing. Although nobody wishes and wants this upon their family he made positive comments about his wife's death. He was happy that she had had a long healthy life and was now in a safer happier place with 'waheguru' or God. He thanked waheguru for giving his wife such a happy life and he knew he would join her when his time came and they could be together again. Many people would not think of this side of the story, some would go into a depression and never forgive what happened to their loved ones. Fauja's positive attitude not only brightens the spirit of himself but also helps the people around him to be happier and full of laughter.

Epitomizing his last name Singh, meaning lion in Punjabi, Fauja has shown and maintained the strength of a lion. Not only is he physically strong he is also mentally strong. "Mr. Singh took up running at the age of 89 as a way to get over depression after his son died in India" ("Marathon"). With the loss of a child it would not be unusual for a parent to go into depression from which they may never recover. Fauja Singh showed a huge amount of strength to go out and do something with his life in order to overcome the depression caused by the death of his son. It takes a person an immense amount of strength to get over a tragic incident in their life and start afresh. Many people may find it impossible to muster such strength. But Fauja had the strength to start a new life all over again and forget what happened in the past. Post-9/11 America had become a difficult place for turban wearers. It mattered little that turbans were most common among Sikhs, and that Sikhs -- whose monotheistic faith originated in India in the 15th century -- played no role in the attacks on the twin towers. Sikhs wore turbans. And in 2003, turbans were bad. Dozens of hate crimes against Sikhs had been reported across the country. The Sikh image had to be enhanced, so what if he was indisposed on that day. He was ready to risk his life. 'Nothing happens without taking risks,' said Fauja. (Singh) Ever since 9/11 Sikhs have been mistakenly identified by some as Muslims because of the turbans they wear on their heads. Subsequently many Sikhs have been killed due to this mistaken identity through the ignorance of others. Fauja Singh, wearing a turban himself, had enough strength to run a marathon in New York after the 9/11 incident even though he was at the risk of someone misidentifying his faith. That takes a lot of courage and strength to stand up for your beliefs and faith even when there can be danger involved. Fauja knew what could have happened to him if someone misidentified him. Fauja Singh has shown the world not only how physically strong he is but also how mentally strong he is.

Having determination, strength, and a positive attitude Fauja Singh has accomplished many things in his life that have not only benefited him but also others worldwide. Fauja's determination to do something with his life instead of just being the boy who could not walk till the age of ten immensely impacted his life. Who would have thought a person born with a disability, who could not walk until ten years of age would be able to run a marathon at the age of one hundred? Is that not impossible? Fauja's determination enabled him to do the impossible. Fauja's positive attitude has also impacted his life and the lives of those around him. Fauja's attitude is what makes him so successful, it's what makes him cross the finish line and not just give up; it's what makes him be able to put his feet on the starting line and begin to run 26 miles on the sound of the claxon. And it is because of his strength that he is on that starting line and not still on his farm in India in deep depression mourning the death of his son. Fauja Singh is truly an inspiration to me and many others. The way he overcame all the obstacles in his life makes him a hero. Fauja is someone whom I look up to, to whom I can listen and who I can follow. He is wise and experienced with everything he says which makes him even more inspirational. "There are two noble things in life: one to do charity and the other to look after your body" (Morley)."I am inspired by honest people who don't cheat others. To me the famous are those who are kind to fellow human beings and dedicate their life to charity" (Morley) Everything Fauja says is inspirational and is something you should think about. He is very humble and does not boast about his accomplishments taking them in his stride, that is why I admire him so much. Fauja Singh has proven not only to me but to the whole world that if you set your mind to something and are determined, strong and positive you can be a hero and Impossible is nothing- Adidas. 

Works Cited

"Marathon attracts young, old." Globe & Mail [Toronto, Canada] 16 May 2013: A14.Biography

in Context. Web. 12 Dec. 2013.

Morley, Gary. "World's oldest marathon man, 102, can't imagine life without running shoes." CNN. CNN, 2013. Web. 11 Dec. 2013. .

Singh, Khushwant. Turbaned Tornado. New Deli: Rupa Publications, 2011. Print.

"The Runner." ESPN. ESPN, 2013. Web. 9 Dec. 2013. singh-runner>.

Page created on 3/21/2015 3:23:45 PM

Last edited 1/6/2017 11:24:38 PM

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Related Links

CNN - CNN interview with Fauja Singh
ESPN - ESPN - About Fauja Singh
The - Story of Fauja retirement

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