India’s 76-year-old marathon man completes his 83rd run

June 22nd, 2008 - 6:49 pm ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, June 22 (IANS) Ashis Roy, India’s 76-year-old marathon man, has completed his 83rd long run, finishing the 26.2 mile Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota in six hours 20 minutes and 11 seconds. Running with kneecaps on both legs due to persistent pain, Roy finished third in the 70 plus age group in the 32nd annual race Saturday. Only four of the six senior runners could complete the course.

Starting at a brisk pace in hot weather, he completed the first half in 2:59:32 hours. But acute pain in his arthritic knees after nine miles slowed him down and it took him nearly 22 minutes longer to cover the second half.

Roy had run the fifth Delaware Marathon in Wilmington at a much faster clip in six hours and 3 minutes last month. His timing in Duluth was just a minute less than the six hours and 21 minutes he returned in the second annual ING Georgia Marathon in Atlanta in March.

Roy, who ran eight marathons in a span of eight months in 2007, plans to compete in at least two more this year. The next run would be in Friendly Massey marathon in Massey, Ontario, on July 20.

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 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.

For the record Kenya’s Lamech Mokono claimed the men’s championship on his debut run in Grandma’s Marathon. Mokono ran a personal best two hours, 13 minutes and 39 seconds, holding off a late surge from fellow Kenyan David Tuwei who finished just five seconds later in 2:13:44.

A record number of 9,888 people registered for the 2008 Grandma’s Marathon and of those, 7,103 runners started the race and 6,759 finished. The 32nd edition had entrants from 44 countries, all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

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