First Up: The 79 year old marathon runner.

First Up: The 79 year old marathon runner.


Most mornings he gets up at 4 o’clock, and
my business at the moment is about 13kms away from home and sometime he wakes up in the
morning have shower and get ready and by six o’clock he walks to the shop most mornings Seventy-nine year old Balbir Singh is a man
of few words – and lets his running – and his son Gurdip do his talking for him.. He arrived in New Zealand in 2001 to resettle
with his two adult sons and found himself spending half his time with one son who was
suffering from multiple sclerosis and the rest helping out at Gurdip’s bottle store…
The problem was the distance between them. he would come with me to my business and then
he go back walking to home because he was a bit restless at the store. And with out
even telling us, and when he first did it, we were looking for him and about two and
a half hours later, he calls us when he’s at home, back then he had no mobile phone
on him. So he did that a few times and when we move
to North Shore he was doing quite a bit exercise walking and I come to know some of his friend
who were doing marathon, then I encourage him to do marathon with them as well, it just
started from there He never did any marathon in India – he probably
never heard of a marathon, I had never had when I was in India, he only starting when
he came here Gurdip soon realised that his dad’s daily
runs were often far longer than marathons, and at 71 Balbir Singh Basra ran his first
Auckland marathon and hasn’t missed one since. He was walking around about 50k every time
he went for walk and marathon is only 42.2km – so it was a piece of cake for him Gurdip and his family were surprised at how
fst his dad’s marathon time was. actually there were a few people stopped him
to take a photo with him and delayed his time actually his finish time was 4 hour 44 min
and would have been a lot quicker if he hadn’t stopped for the photoshoots there with his flowing white beard, trackpants,
t-shirt, well worn running shoes and topped with a perfectly tied turban,
balbir is easily spotted all over the north shore. It make me laugh when people come up to me
when he is with me, and they say “is he your Dad, we’ve seen him in Devonport, and here
there everywhere and they just look at him and laugh They’re surprised, they don’t believe he’s
80 when they look at him. Because he’s well known and sometime people
even stop and try to give him a lift because they’re thinking he’s just walking from one
distance to the other, just exercising. At nearly 80 years of age, Gurdip says his
dad’s health is excellent. The Doctor every time he checks his pulse,
he laughs – he calls him a young man, he’s a 21 year old. most people his age, even general have knee
problems, when they ask him how he is how his knees – he just laughs and marathon training doesn’t stop when he
travels back to India every couple of years. oh yes what he does because we are in the
city, out of city there are a few villages, he goes for walk, and at least 6, 7 villages
before he comes home Gurdip says his father is one of the most
focused and determined people he knows. I actually own a restaurant as well – he wouldn’t
even have a vegetarian meal at my restaurant he’s baptised – even if we go to any function
even wedding reception or anything he will have a meal at home before we go to the party,
he will have a soft drink or juice later but nothing apart from that. When he means no when he’s eating he means
no , you can’t push him you can’t say “another chapatti” He’s always been always focused, he knows
what he wants. Balbir has now completed thirteen marathons..
and he’s hoping to finish his fourteenth in under 5 hours this Sunday when he runs the
Auckland marathon for the 8th time. No he not talk about stopping, Marathon is
actually his life, when he completes one marathon, he’s looking forward to the next one