India’s marathon man sets new record with 91st marathon

June 1st, 2009 - 2:43 pm ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, June 1 (IANS) India’s grand old marathon man, Ashis Roy, became the first Asian above 75 to run three marathons in a month as he finished his 91st long run in six hours and 27 minutes.

The oldest of 400 participants in the inaugural Bob Potts Heritage Rail Trail Marathon in York, Pennsylvania on Sunday, Roy, who turned 77 today clipped five minutes from his timing in the Delaware Marathon in Wilmington two weeks ago.

“The reception I got here was unbelievable,” Roy, the lone 75 plus participant in the 26-mile run, told IANS on phone after he was honoured with a plaque embedded with a small piece of the heritage railway line as an “exceptional runner”.

Named after Bob Potts, a legendary local runner who died after collapsing in the middle of a triathlon in Avalon, New Jersey, two years ago, the event was organized by his son Sean Potts to honour a man who ran more than 30 marathons in his life.

The race started near Grumbacher Fitness Centre at York College, took runners a mile on the York City streets, out on the Heritage Rail Trail County Park and back to end on the York College track.

The weather was perfect, cool at the start with low humidity, but became pretty hot as the sun came out, yet Roy was pleased at finishing the return run in 20 seconds less “after a long time” despite his arthritic right knee even as only 367 runners completed the course.

With an eye on reaching his century of runs by 2010, the long distance runner from New Delhi now plans to participate in the Niagara Lake marathon on June 20.

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”.

He 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.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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