The SRM about which I write this week is the Sikh Relay Marathon, which took place 29 September in Redbridge, North East of London. The route of the relay marathon is the training ground of Fauja Singh, the veteran Sikh marathon runner who is now 99 years old.
This year is the third time that I participated in the SRM, which allows both more professional runners and indifferent ones like me to take part. As I was one of the five members of our Interfaith Team I only had to do a bit more than one fifth of 42 km. The other benefit of a relay marathon is that you do not have to run the distance in one go, you do a lap, rest, do another lap and rest again etc.
I will publish pictures of the participants both on my blog and on my Flickr account, so that everybody can see me and my colleagues and also teams like the Barking Road Runners and the Baba Fateh Singh Gatka Akhara, whose members are fitter and younger than me.
The most amazing participants are the Sikh veteran runners in their eighties and nineties, with Fauja Singh as their best known member. The veterans do not run very fast, but they go at a steady pace and keep going.
Our team of five had an Irish and a Luxemburg female member, two local male members, one of whom was a Hindu, and a tall skinny Dutchman who lives in Belgium and is a Sikh. Even the Gatka Akara has non-Sikh members. Although it is the Sikh Relay Marathon there is plenty of opportunity to talk to and to run together with people of non-Sikh background.
Every year the Mayor of Redbridge has to get up early on a Sunday morning to address the runners. His (or her) motivation to do this is that £ 1000 of the revenue of the event goes to the Mayor’s charity fund. The revenue consists of sponsor money from local businesses and Gurdwaré and the £ 20 registration fee that all but the foreign participants have to pay.
We missed the Scottish team that was present at previous events, but in spite of their absence we had an excellent time on the day, and badly aching leg muscles on the Monday.
Last year I had done a lot of walking and a bit of running as preparation, this year I had been out on my wonderful new bike a lot, walked some but did not run at all before the race. Cycling is an excellent way to keep fit, but you use quite different muscle groups on your bike than when running.
Please come and join us next year, God usually blesses us with reasonable weather and there is always good company, you contribute to community cohesion and to charity. And you’ll get a medal and a T-shirt !