India’s 75-year-old marathon man completes his 82nd run

May 19th, 2008 - 11:05 am ICT by admin  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, May 19 (IANS) Ashis Roy, India’s 75-year-old marathon man, has completed his 82nd long run, finishing the 26.2 mile course in the fifth Delaware Marathon in Wilmington in 6 hours and 3 minutes. Despite running with kneecaps on both legs due to persistent pain, Roy finished fourth in the 70 plus age group Sunday as he shaved off 18 minutes from his timing of 6 hours and 21 minutes in the second annual ING Georgia Marathon in Atlanta in March.

It wasn’t still 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 hours and 18 minutes.

Suffering from pain in both knees and leg cramps slowing him down, Roy finished the first half in two hours and 50 minutes on a rain swept morning. The second half took 13 minutes longer as he ran into a storm on the last four miles.

About 550 people participated in the Delaware marathon following a four-loop city course with Jorge Real, a resident of Bogota, Colombia, currently living in New York, winning the race in two hours, 33 minutes and 35 seconds.

The event included a 10-mile race and four-person marathon relay and involved more than 1,300 runners overall.

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 Grandma’s Marathon at Duluth, Minnesota, June 21. He may also run the Quebec City Marathon Aug 24. Participating in the Delaware Marathon for the third year running, Roy was described as the “true ambassador of marathons” and was lodged in a city hotel as a guest of the organisers for two nights.

He 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.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at

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