News and views

08.04.2016

World’s Oldest Marathon Runner Supports Charity Worker’s Marathon Efforts

Vibrance Chief Executive, Paul Allen

Vibrance chief executive, Paul Allen, Fauja Singh and Ramesh Pala.

A member of staff from an Ilford charity, who is getting ready to run the London Marathon is receiving support from the world’s oldest marathon runner.

Ramesh Pala, from Ilford, met with local celebrity, centenarian Fauja Singh, and his trainer, Harmander Singh, who both inspired him to begin running.

Ramesh will be fundraising for social care charity Vibrance, where he has worked as a day service activity worker for 10 years.

Ilford based charity, Vibrance, supports 400 people in traditional services throughout London and the South East with learning disabilities and mental health issues, offering a range of community day services, low-support housing, nursing and care homes, short breaks, supported employment, as well as supporting 1,500 people in self-directed services.

The London Marathon, which will be Ramesh’s second marathon, takes place on Sunday 24th April. Ramesh began running five years ago, after seeing an article in the local newspaper about Fauja Singh and Harmander Singh.

Fauja Singh, aged 105, is believed to be the world’s oldest marathon runner, having run nine full marathons since the age of 89.

Talking about why he took up running, Ramesh said: “I hadn’t done any physical activity since leaving school almost 30 years ago, and even then I dreaded the cross country! When I read about Fauja Singh’s achievements, I thought if at almost 100 years old he can still run marathons, then I should give it a go.”

Ramesh contacted Harmander, and soon began training in all weather conditions. Harmander inspired Ramesh to join local running club, East London Runners, helping prepare him for his first marathon in 2014.

Speaking of his first marathon, Ramesh said: “I had tried to get a place in the London Marathon for three years, and it was a case of third time lucky for me. Running the London Marathon was a fabulous experience, and I would encourage everyone to do it at least once.

“I have chosen to fundraise for Vibrance again, as I see first-hand the incredible difference it makes to service users.”

Ramesh has a detailed training plan to prepare for the marathon, which includes hill running and cross country over a variety of distance. March was an intense month, but the training has eased off in preparation for the big day.

Speaking of his running inspiration, Ramesh said: “It means a lot to me to have support from Fauja Singh and Harmander Singh, who are my running inspirations. Fauja Singh is a living legend who walks in our community, and has universal respect from many different people. I live locally to Fauja, and I often see him walking vigorously by most days, it is an inspiring sight and a great motivation. Fauja appears in the Ford ‘Unlearn’ campaign, which I think is very appropriate for Vibrance’s vision of challenging barriers.”

If you would like to support Ramesh in his fundraising for Vibrance, you can visit the Vibrance Just Giving page on www.justgiving.com/vibrance to donate.

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Registered Charity Number 1152186. A Company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales, number 8466095.
Registered Office: Unit 2, Caxton Place, Roden Street, Ilford, Essex, IG1 2AH