India’s 75-year-old marathon man completes his 81st run

March 31st, 2008 - 11:27 am ICT by admin  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, March 31 (IANS) Ashis Roy, India’s 75-year-old marathon man, has completed his 81st long run, finishing the 26.2 mile course in the second annual ING Georgia Marathon in Atlanta on a cold windswept day. Braving chilly temperature of about four degrees Celsius and gusty 10-20 mph winds Sunday, Roy finished fifth in the 70 plus age group with a time of 6:21:23 hours to the cheers of fellow competitors.

It wasn’t the best of times for Roy, who took to long distance running at the age of 50 after retiring from the Indian Air Force where he served as a cardiologist for 21 years. Five years back when he first ran in the 70 plus group in Norway, Roy finished the course in 4:18:00 hours.

With osteo-arthritis in the right knee for the last two years slowing him down, Roy found the going a little tough on the uneven up and down route in the first half which he finished in 3:8:23. The second half took just four and a half minutes longer.

In all 2,142 marathoners finished the full marathon and 8,569 finished the half marathon with Oleg Marusin of Russia winning the men’s open division of the marathon in 2:18:50, cutting off 27 seconds from the time set last year by Kenyan Joseph Chirlee.

Roy, who ran eight marathons in a span of eight months in 2007, plans to compete in at least three more this year. The next run would be in Delaware Marathon in Wilmington May 18 followed by the one in Grandmas Marathon at Duluth June 21. He may also run the Quebec City Marathon Aug 24.

The only Asian to run in the Georgia Marathon, Roy has to date competed in marathons in 20 countries outside India. A record holder in the above-55 category in 1987, he is the oldest active international sportsman of India at the age of 75.

Roy, who competed in the International Veterans Marathon in Athens in 1986, has no plans to hang up his boots any time soon. Participating in four to five marathons every year, he hopes to notch 100 runs by the time he hits 80. The thought of retiring is unlikely to cross his mind before that.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Sports |