Meet Fauja Singh, the 104-Year-Old Marathoner

When journalist Michael Mosley went to the London Marathon, he was astounded at the nearly 36,000 bodies of all shapes and sizes who had come to tackle the 26-mile course. A whopping 7,000 runners were in their 50s, and a handful were in their 80s or older. The exercise is what keeps people young and fit well beyond retirement age.

Mosley tracked down a few elderly race participants, but the man he came to see was Fauja Singh, a man who makes septuagenarians look youthful. While Singh was active all his life, he only took up serious running in his 80s. Through an interpreter, Singh explains that a marathon is not easy, but “you don’t want to give up.”

This drive to compete and stay in shape has helped Singh age extremely well. Born in 1911, he has never had surgery, he shows no signs of heart disease, and he takes no medication. His secret, beyond the obvious exercise, is his diet. It’s not necessarily the food he eats, but the portion sizes. Singh unknowingly has been testing a theory that’s almost as old as he is, which suggests we do not need as many calories as we normally take in.

After seven hour and 49 minutes on the track, Singh becomes the world’s oldest marathon runner. Most of us would be just fine with that sort of health and drive when we turn 104.

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