17 Apr 2012

Centenarian marathon runner, Fauja Singh, is gearing up to pound the streets of London, raising money for charity as he goes. 

101-year-old Fauja, who last October completed the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in just over eight hours, 25 minutes, will take on the iconic Virgin London Marathon on Sunday 22nd April, with support from bookmakers, William Hill, who has pledged to donate their charity bet that he will beat his previous record.

William Hill is offering odds of 5 to 1 with a stake of £200 if Fauja finishes the 26.2 mile route in less than eight hours, 25 minutes and 16 seconds, with the £1,000 payout going directly to TeamPB, the first joint official charity partnership of the Virgin London Marathon.

If Fauja fails to beat his personal best, William Hill has pledged to donate the stake to TeamPB - the joint running team of The Prostate Cancer Charity and Breast Cancer Care - to reach their goal of £1 million to support the 750,00 affected by prostate and breast cancers in the UK.

Born in India in 1911, Fauja Singh was a farmer in the Punjab but moved to Britain in the 1990s and puts his stamina down to ginger curry, tea, God and "being happy".

Fauja, who lives in Ilford, East London, said: "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, keep smiling and keep running."

His trainer Harmander Singh who will be running his 59th marathon (28th consecutive London Marathon) said: "Fauja's achievement has been a tremendous inspiration for others who have taken up running having watched him. It's fitting that being a Londoner, he is able to achieve the feat in theUK and in his home city. We are hoping that people from all communities will come out on the day and join us to support and cheer him and the other thousands of runners taking part"

Graham Sharpe, Media Relations Director at William Hill, said: 'Fauja is the oldest subject for any bet I have taken during my 40 years with William Hill, but I have no doubt that his unrivalled experience of his event and his impeccable preparation for a challenge which would daunt many a person a mere fraction of his age will help him beat the odds and become the oldest gambler ever to win £1000 from William Hill, which will then go to this worthiest of causes.'

Mark Bishop, Director of Fundraising at The Prostate Cancer Charity, added: "We would like to wish Fauja the best of luck with this amazing endeavour and a huge thank you to William Hill for their support in helping us to reach our £1 million fundraising target."

Judy Beard, Director of Fundraising and Marketing at Breast Cancer Care said: "We hear so many amazing and moving stories from all our runners, but to still be running marathons at the age of 101 is especially inspiring. Good luck to Fauja and thank you!"

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