Ashee SharmaPublished: 21 Jan 2016, 12:00 AM
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Fauja Singh: adidas, PETA, Nestlé; What Next?

A quick look at the 104-year-old marathoner Fauja Singh's brand associations and online presence.

At 104, he is the world's oldest marathon runner. He holds five world records in his age group. The Indian-born British citizen Fauja Singh, is an inspiration for the young, old and brands alike.

Fauja Singh: adidas, PETA, Nestlé; What Next?
Singh is no stranger to endorsements, but brands latching on to the 'Turbaned Tornado' (as he is fondly called) in India is a relatively novel phenomena. Recently, as part of its completion of 100 years in India, the food and beverage brand Nestlé, partnered with Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2016, an event that saw the participation of Singh. In November last year, Nestlé released the inspiring
to celebrate the spirit of the '104-year-young' marathoner.
Fauja Singh: adidas, PETA, Nestlé; What Next?
Fauja Singh: adidas, PETA, Nestlé; What Next?
Fauja Singh: adidas, PETA, Nestlé; What Next?
Fauja Singh: adidas, PETA, Nestlé; What Next?
Fauja Singh: adidas, PETA, Nestlé; What Next?
Fauja Singh: adidas, PETA, Nestlé; What Next?
Fauja Singh: adidas, PETA, Nestlé; What Next?
Fauja Singh: adidas, PETA, Nestlé; What Next?
Singh was born on April 1, 1911, in the village of Beas Pind, Punjab. After the demise of his wife and son, Singh moved to London in the 1990s in order to stay with his family. Socialising over morning jogs rekindled his interest in running, and in life. A television advert calling for entries to the London Marathon took him to Harmander Singh who later became his coach. There was no looking back for Singh thereafter.

Singh is today the oldest marathon runner having participated in eight marathon races between 2000 and 2011. He has set five records, having run the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, the mile, 3000m, and 5000m, in a span of 94 minutes, all in one day. In October 2011, he became the first centenarian to complete the Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

Singh's grit and determination, along with his Herculean achievements, has made him an irresistible choice for brands. Riding on his popularity as a marathon runner, the sports shoes, clothing and accessories brand adidas brought him on board for their endorsements way back in 2004. The endorsement gave Singh a chance to feature along with soccer champion David Beckham and boxing legend Muhammad Ali in the brand's 'Impossible is Nothing' campaign.

The American animal rights organisation PETA, was not to be left behind. Cashing in on Singh's simple home-cooked vegetarian eating habits, the organisation picked him to promote the vegan movement. "I only eat one chapati and one portion of lentils at a time. I don't believe in waste or excessiveness. I eat a lot of ginger curry," Singh had revealed in an interview to PETA.

Singh also carried the Olympic torch at the 2004 Athens Olympics and the 2012 London Olympics. He has a Facebook following of over 80,000. Over the years, Singh has lent support to various causes such as raising funds for the Nepal earthquake (2015) victims. He ran for the UK-based charity Bliss that works to provide care and support for all premature and sick babies and their families.

In 2011 author and columnist Khushwant Singh penned Singh's biography titled 'Turbaned Tornado'. Speaking about his experience of writing the book, he says, "Fauja Singh's coach contacted asked if I could spare a year of my life for the task. All I can now say is that the entire experience was like a pilgrimage for me. It had a deep impact on me in terms of the possibilities of human achievements, what the human mind and body synced together can achieve!"