A centenarian marathon runner? That's nothing...

  • @robhastings

As if reaching the age of 100 was not enough of a marathon in itself, a centenarian from Ilford has run himself into the record books by completing a 26-mile race in Canada.

Fauja Singh, who can now call himself the world's oldest marathon runner, said he hit the fabled "wall" of long-distance running after 22 miles. Yet he somehow found the determination to carry on and crossed the finishing line for the Scotiabank Toronto Marathon in under eight-and-a-half hours.

The former farmer, who was born in India on 1 April 1911 and moved to Britain 50 years later, did not run his first marathon until he was 89, following the death of his wife and son. He is making up for lost time now, however, having since completed seven more.

Age no barrier: super centenarians

The 101-year-old plumber

Buster Martin's claim to have been 101 when he completed the London Marathon may have been denied by the Guinness Book of Records – who said he was just 94 – but until his death earlier this year he was the country's oldest plumber.

The 100-year-old midwife

"Papa Doc" had delivered 18,000 babies after 63 years as a midwife. But though he laid down his stethoscope when his eyesight got too bad, Dr Walter Watson continued serving in a hospital in the American state of Georgia past his 100th birthday.

The 100-year-old father

At least he claimed to be 100. Even at his official age of 94 it sounds dubious, but last year Ramjit Raghav proclaimed himself the world's oldest father. Records say the man from northern India isn't quite 100, but the birth of son Karamjit saw him beat the previous eldest father, who was 90.

The 102-year-old school pupil

Ma Xiuxian didn't have the chance to go to school when she was young, so last year the Chinese centenarian joined a class of four-year-olds at her local primary school at the age of 102. A teacher had read of her desire to finally have an education in an interview with a local newspaper.

The 104-year-old tweeter

Keen to defeat the perception that technology is the preserve of young people, Ivy Bean was hailed as the oldest person on Twitter in 2009. Before she died last year aged 104, she had attracted 56,000 followers to her accounts of life inside the Hillside Manor care home in Bradford.

The 100-year-old groom

With a combined age of 190, Forrest Lunsway and Rose Pollard were called the world's oldest newlyweds when they married in March on the day of Forrest's 100th birthday. The Californian couple, who received a congratulations card from Barack Obama, met in 1983 at a dance.