The world’s oldest marathon runner has decided to hang up his shoes today, after completing a 10K in Hong Kong in 1 hour and 32 minutes. He is 101 years old.
That, in itself, gives a person reason to pause and do some serious inner reflection. However, there is even more to it than that.
Fauja Singh, the Indian born runner who now lives in London, has not been a runner his whole life. He spent the majority of his life as a farmer, and took up running at 89 years old in the face of tragedy. He’d lost his wife and his son, and says that running gave him purpose and a sense of peace.
Who couldn’t use a large dose of that?
Over the course of the last decade, Singh has run over a dozen full and half-marathons, and spent each day running between 10 and 15 kilometers in order to maintain his sense of self. Health tests revealed that he has the bones of a 35 year old, yet he says he doesn’t drink milk. His meals consist of traditional Punjabi food, daal, roti, gobi and chai, but he only eats what he needs and doesn’t overindulge.
My favorite part is that he attributes his good health and stamina to three things: ginger curry, tea, and being happy.
After finishing his last marathon in 2011 (Toronto), his advice to the world was simple. “The secret to a long and healthy life is to be stress-free. Be grateful for everything you have, stay away from people who are negative, stay smiling and keep running.”
Incidentally, I am debating starting a petition to send to the Guiness Book of World Records. They have decided that they will not include Singh’s Toronto finish within it’s pages because he only has a passport to give record of his age, no birth certificate. Seriously?
Anyhow, I know what chai is, but I am yet unclear about the daal, roti, and gobi. Which makes the upcoming weekend a little uncertain; it could go one of two ways. Either I am going to be starving by the end of it because I can’t choke any of those three dishes down, or my body is going to go into shock at three meals of extremely healthy food in a row.
However, the biggest meal I intend to binge on is the ten-course feast of living stress-free. Describing the things I find stressful in life has no place here; everyone has it and it’s all relative. But it’s not worth it. Life is too short, even if you are lucky enough to pass the century mark before you hang up your running shoes.
Marathoner Masoor Daal
1 cup red lentils
1 inch of a ginger root, peeled
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
4 tsp vegetable oil
4 tsp dried minced onion
1 tsp cumin seeds
4 cups cooked rice
Rinse the lentils and toss them in a saucepan with the ginger, turmeric, salt and cayenne pepper. Add about 1 inch of water and boil it together, skimming off any foam that appears. Simmer it until the lentils are tender (20 minutes or so). Combine the oil, dried onion and cumin and cook in a separate pan until the onions are lightly browned, then add it to the lentil mixture. Serve on top of the rice.