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No Guinness World Record for 100-year-old runner after all

Oct 24, 2011, 11:51 AM EDT

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The ever-fussy folks at the Guinness Book of World Records are denying a spot in their annals to Fauja Singh, who last week became the first 100-year-old to complete a marathon. That’s because Singh can’t produce a valid birth certificate (Donald Trump suddenly looks up from his soup, as if he’s heard a gunshot).

Singh became the darling of the centenarian set after completing the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in just more than eight hours, restoring our faith in the power of positive thinking and vegetarianism.

Guinness World Records says it has not ratified the record as Mr Singh cannot show a birth certificate from 1911.

His trainer, Harmander Singh, says such documents were not made in India then.

Fauja Singh is said to hold a number of world records, but the BBC’s 5 live Investigates programme has learned that none of these records has been ratified by Guinness World Records.

His British passport, showing his date of birth as being 1 April 1911, as well as a letter from the Queen congratulating Mr Singh on his 100th birthday, have been shown to the organisation. But it says these are not considered sufficient proof of age.

Exactly what’s the point of having a queen if she can’t settle disputes such as this?

But even if he’s only 98 or 99, it doesn’t make the following paragraph any less delightful and humorous:

Fauja Singh recently completed the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in eight hours, 25 minutes and 16 seconds, finishing in 3,850th place, ahead of five other competitors.

I’d love to hear the conversation when one of those five got home.

“How’d you do in the marathon, dear?” “SHUT UP! JUST SHUT UP ABOUT IT!”

100-year-old marathon runner not recognised by Guinness [BBC News]