India’s marathon man Ashis Roy completes 85th marathon

August 23rd, 2008 - 2:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 23 (IANS) India’s grand old marathon man Ashis Roy ran his 85th marathon, finishing second in the 70-79 age group in the Self-Transcendence Marathon in New York in a time of six hours, 4 minutes and 38 seconds.”It was a very, very good race… unbelievable,” Roy at 76 the oldest of the 480 runners from 32 countries, told IANS on phone Friday after the race around the beautifully scenic, flat shores of Rockland Lake.

Despite acute pain in his right knee and blisters in left heel, he clipped 10 minutes from his last race, the Friendly Massey marathon in Massey, Ontario, last month where he returned a time of six hours 14 minutes and 42 seconds.

Cheering crowds greeted Roy as he went nine times around the lake in bright sunshine on a hot and humid day to complete the 26-mile run. As the oldest runner he also received a trophy as a special prize.

Roy, who figures in the Limca Book of Records for running eight marathons in a span of eight months in 2007, has run five marathons this year starting with the second annual ING Georgia Marathon in Atlanta in March.

He also participated in Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota and the fifth Delaware Marathon in Wilmington. His timing of six hours three minutes in Wilmington was the best of his five marathons this season.

Roy 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. 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 76. Five years back when he first ran in the 70 plus group in Norway, Roy finished the course in four hours and 18 minutes.

Roy, who competed in the International Veterans Marathon in Athens in 1986, has no plans to hang up his running shoes any time soon. Participating in four to five marathons every year, he hopes to notch 100 runs by the time he hits 80.

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