101, not out!

Anjali Jhangiani
Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Mann Kaur, the 101-year-old record breaking athlete, who will be running along with the participants at Pinkathon this November, talks about keeping herself fit

Mann Kaur is quite a delight. Eight years ago, she started running when her son encouraged her to do so. Considering that she didn’t suffer from any kind of joint or heart problems, and she was as healthy as a woman her age can be, he suggested she take up running, and with a new excitement for life, she did. Now, at 101, she’s still running every day, checking her timing, and getting quicker. She holds a world record for completing 100m in 1:14 minutes at the World Masters Games held in Auckland, New Zealand earlier this year.

She’s fit, and funny. Ask her how running has helped her, and she says, “I met you, that’s how it benefited me.” Then, answering my questions seriously, she says, “We don’t eat from restaurants. Yesterday, when we travelled from Patiala to Delhi in the train, we packed and brought our own food from home. Even when we are invited to parties, we don’t eat fried stuff they offer. Food, what you eat and how much you eat, is as important as exercise, what exercise you do and how regularly you do it.”

Along with food and exercise, so that you have a strong body, you also need to nourish your soul, says Mann Kaur. “Spirituality is very important too. Only when your soul is strong will you be able to perform well. It is up to you how you connect with your soul, what you do for spirituality, but the important thing is to be spiritual,” she says.

Mann Kaur will be running with the participants at the ‘Colors Pinkathon Empowering Indian Women Inspiring Partners Bajaj Electricals’ women’s run on November 26 at Mulik Ground, Kalyani Nagar.

HOME FOOD IS THE BEST
Her son, Gurudev, is in charge of the food department at her home now. He has devised a Punjabi diet plan. “There’s an athlete who wants to compete in the Olympics, so we asked him to come and eat with us every day. He lives in the hostel in Patiala, but comes to our house for his meals and eats what we eat. His performance has improved a lot this year, and we are hoping he will qualify for the next Olympics also,” says 80-year-old Gurudev Singh, who also represented India in the World Masters Games. He claims that his mother is a living example of his brilliantly healthy diet.

“Ten months ago, when we came from Canada, my mother would wake up three-four times during the night to pee. Her sleep was getting disturbed and to exercise in that state was not good. So I took her to our doctor in Chandigarh, who said that this is an age-related problem. But I didn’t lose heart and sought advice from the Ayurvedic college in Patiala, and they too said the same thing. So I did some research of my own and made this diet plan,” says Gurudev.

His diet plan includes starting the day with Kafir milk on an empty stomach, followed by a glass of fresh seasonal fruit juice, and bowlfuls of sprouts before their chapati-based meals, a few tablespoons of crushed assorted nuts and seeds (like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnut, almonds, peanuts, cashew nuts etc), soyabean milk that is freshly made at home, and wheatgrass juice. “Nowadays, you get everything readymade, but we still prefer to make it at home. So we make fresh soya milk and I brought a machine from Australlia to make the wheatgrass juice, which is watery but very healthy. When you grow wheatgrass at home, it should not be taller than 4-5 inches, and there should be no direct sunlight,” he cautions.

A few months on this diet and Mann Kaur doesn’t wake up at night. “Only with diet, and her regular exercise, she has overcome everything. She now sleeps like a baby till 7-8 in the morning,” says Gurudev.

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