India’s marathon man Ashis Roy completes 89th marathon

May 4th, 2009 - 8:12 pm ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, May 4 (IANS) India’s grand old marathon man Ashis Roy has completed his 89th marathon, finishing the Potomac River Run Marathon here in a time of six hours and 23 minutes on a rain-swept morning.

Roy, 76, was the only one of the three participants in the 70-79 age group to finish the 42.2 km run Sunday along the picturesque Mount Vernon Trail along the George Washington Memorial Parkway, from Belle Haven all the way down to Riverside Park and back.

“It was a very, very good race,” Roy told IANS. His only regret was that going up and down four times on a bit of rolling terrain as well as a couple of significant hills reduced his timing somewhat.

He had completed his last marathon in Noida in February in six hours and 4 minutes and the one in Mumbai a month earlier in six hours and 7 minutes.

Volunteers from three Indian charities, AIMS for India, Asha for Education and Association for India’s Development (AID), which were among the sponsors of the event to showcase US national parks, cheered Roy along the way.

With plans to complete his century of runs by 2010, 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, has just penned a book on the “Joy of Running”.

His next run on the way to the century mark will be the Delaware marathon in Wilmington May 17 followed by one in York, Pennsylvania, on May 31.

Roy figures in the Limca Book of Records and has to date competed in marathons in 20 countries outside India including the International Veterans Marathon in Athens in 1986.

A record holder in the above-55 category in 1987, he is the oldest active international sportsman of India at the age of 76.

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

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