Man Kaur inspires us to run

By Melvin Durai
Most people dream of retiring in their sixties and taking it easy. Some of
them might want to keep working, but by the time they reach their
seventies, they’re ready to relax, drink tea and reminisce about the good
old days. Ask them if they’d like to do any running and they might nod
their heads and say, “I’ve thought about running. In India, you’re never
too old to run, as long as you’re running for office.”But ask them if they’d like to do the other type of running and they’d
probably laugh and say, “Only if a lion is chasing me.”

That’s why Man Kaur, the 101-year-old world champion from Chandigarh, is
so amazing. She took up running when she was 93! Most people that age have
trouble walking, let alone running.

Just pick a 93-year-old woman in India at random and ask her if she runs.
She’ll probably smile and say, “I ran once, but it was a long time ago. ”¦
Oh yes, it was during the partition. I ran from Pakistan to India.”

Kaur started running upon the urging of her son, Gurdev, who is now 79 and
competes in Masters events, like his mother.

“I asked her. ”˜You have no problem, no knee problem, no heart problem, you
should start running,’” he told The Canadian Press. “She could become
prominent all over the world.”

She has indeed become “prominent” all over the world. If people in Burundi
see a newspaper article with a headline such as “Man From India Wins
Another Gold Medal,” they know right away that it’s all about Man Kaur.

Kaur, as you’ve probably heard, was the only female centenarian competing
at the recent World Masters Games in Auckland, New Zealand, and won the
gold medal in the 100-meter dash by completing the race in one minute, 14
seconds. Well, it wasn’t exactly a “dash” ”“ it was more like a “stroll.”
But when you’re 101 years old, any type of measurable movement is worth

Competing only against herself, Kaur was both the first runner to cross
the finish line and the last runner to do so. But it’s not her fault that
no other centenarians decided to show up. What was she supposed to do ”“ go
to a retirement home and challenge all the residents in their 100s to a

Kaur: “Who wants to race me?”

Hundred-year-old woman: “What will I win if I race you?”

Kaur: “A silver medal!”

Hundred-year-old: “How long do I have to run?”

Kaur: “100 meters. One meter for every year you’ve lived on this earth.”

Hundred-year-old: “That’s too long. Let’s do one meter for every decade
I’ve lived on this earth.”

Kaur didn’t just win gold in the 100-meter race; she also won gold in 200
meters, shot put, and javelin. She threw the javelin 5.12 meters and
heaved the shot put 2.1 meters. Can you believe that ”“ a 101-year-old
woman heaving a shot put that far? Most people her age wouldn’t be able to
lift the shot put off the ground ”“ and if they succeeded in doing that,
they’d probably fall backwards under its weight, shouting, “Help! Someone
get this heavy round thing off me!”

Kaur is truly a marvel. She has now won 20 gold medals at World Masters
events around the world and shows no sign of slowing down.

“I feel really good winning all four gold medals, and this is not it, I
will come back and compete again at the Master Games 2021 in Japan,” she
told the Indian Weekender.

In 2021, she will be 105 years old. Imagine how many people she will
inspire to take up running.

Seventy-year-old woman: “Look at her run. I’m really inspired. Do you want
to go for a run with me?”

Seventy-two-year-old woman: “Yes, but not now. We still have time.”

Seventy-year-old woman: “That’s true. If she started running in her
nineties, we still have 20 years to relax.”

Melvin Durai is an Indiana-based writer and humorist, author
of the humorous novel “Bala Takes the Plunge.” A
native of India, he grew up in Zambia and has lived in North
America since the early 1980s. Read his humor blog at   Write to him at

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