Think you’re too old to get in shape?

Then it’s time to meet 99 year-old Fauja Singh, the fastest pensioner on the block.

The majority of senior citizens enjoy putting their feet up after a lifetime of work but Fauja Singh is still busy breaking records and making a name for himself as one of Britain’s most extraordinary athletes.

The Redbridge based runner plans to rewrite the record books again next year by becoming the oldest and fastest man in his age group to complete a marathon.

Success would mark the culmination of a remarkable career which began at the relatively youthful age of 81 when Fauja took up running to stave off the boredom of sitting at home.

The diminutive Sikh has since completed the gruelling 26.2 mile distance seven times and is the current over 90s world record holder.

Age seems to have little relevance for the devout vegetarian whose daily training regime includes an eight mile run, early nights and a positive mental attitude.

Fauja said: “I do not consider myself to be old. From the moment I do that, I would lose everything, because age is a state of mind – as long as you’re positive, you can do anything.”

His decision to start running marathons was originally sparked by watching the London race on TV along with a chance encounter with Harmander Singh, a veteran of nearly 50 (marathon) races who agreed to train him.

Harmander said: “We just started with the basics and slowly built Fauja’s mileage up. It was simply a case of breaking the training down into manageable chunks and moving towards our goal. He’s quite a celebrity now.”

Fauja also competes as part of quintet of runners called Sikhs in the City who have a combined age of 420 years. All five members of Sikhs in the City share an infectiously positive outlook and lust for life that is key to their ongoing success.

Ajit Singh, 80, for instance, has just learned to ride a bicycle, so one of his goals now is to complete a triathlon. He and his lifelong friend Amrik Singh, also 80, have completed more than 1,000 races between them and acted as mentors to Fauja.

So, when does the country’s most famous Sikh intend to put his feet up?

“I won’t stop running until I die. The next target, God willing, is to be the oldest marathon runner ever.”

If you’d like to know more, log onto www.sikhsinthecity.org

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