Hundreds follow 97-year-old in charity walk
A world renowned 97-year-old Sikh marathon runner led a charity walk in Coventry that celebrated the 300th anniversary of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.
The extraordinary Fauja Singh, from Ilford, headed an eight kilometre walk from the Midlands town’s Ramgarhia Gurdwara.
More than 500 local Sikhs followed behind as they demonstrated their devotion to the holy scriptures.
Four years ago Mr Singh featured in an Adidas advertising campaign alongside soccer superstar David Beckham and World Cup rugby hero Jonny Wilkinson.
The venerable athlete only started taking running seriously at the age of 81 when he moved to London from India. In the Punjab he lived on a family farm where he regularly jogged “to get from one place to the next”. He moved to England after his wife’s death to live with his son and took up jogging as a leisure pursuit.
His ambition is to enter the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest man ever to run the 26 miles of the marathon event, which means competing until he is at least 98.
Organiser Harjinder Singh expressed his delight at having the famous nonagenarian along to start the charity walk.
Through the Coventry Telegraph, he told the city’s wider community that it was a really special celebration, a once in the lifetime event for Sikhs around the world.
Supporting the walk were members of the Maha Rani Jinda Kaur Group, which was started seven years ago and named in honour of the last Sikh queen, who died in the 19th century.
The group was founded by teacher Surinder Kaur Kalsi to encourage older women who spent most of their time at home to venture out and socialise more.
Surinder Kaur Kalsi said there were about 30 women in the group, which meets in the temple annexe. Raising money for different charities is another of its objectives.
The walk itself supported a number of charities and organisations.
The Coventry Telegraph reported that hundreds of people from the Sikh community in nearby Leamington Spa also celebrated the tercentenary, accompanying three floats in a procession through the town from the Sikh temple on Queensway Trading Estate.
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