16-07-2019 by Leni Frau
According to experts, this is the longest-lived marathon runner in the world, but now (unless you think again) John Ruengo, at the venerable age of 89 years, will give the scepter to some other age, although you do not see many others around and not even in Kenya.
It is no coincidence that in the recent twentieth edition of the Safaricom Lewa Marathon, Ruengo came first in the category of "Over 52" in the half marathon, 21 kilometers. In a nutshell, the youngest one to have done better than him, is almost forty years younger.
"I am the oldest marathon runner in the world - he declared after the victory - the great Fauja Singh, who left the activity in 2013 at 101 years old, wrote me a letter telling me not to give up". Singh, an Anglo-Indian, is still alive and his record will remain unbeaten. So decided the Kenyan rider.
The secret of the sporting longevity of the athlete from Isiolo?
He explained it to the national media himself: camel bone soup, leafy vegetables and no alcohol. Besides the daily practice: running, running, running.
Ruengo has been doing this for over 75 years, since he was a boy. In 1962 he was a member of the Kenyan athletics team at the international British Commonwealth Games held in Perth, Australia.
Since then he has participated in hundreds of marathons, the last only in his homeland and linked to social initiatives, but always competitive and with prizes. For twenty years, when he has been running in competitions, he has held a small Kenyan flag in his hand.
At the Lewa Conservancy he received a mobile phone and 10,000 shillings, on other occasions he won a cow. Now he hopes that as a reward for his career, the country's main telephone operator will give him a new home.
In view of the Safaricom Lewa Marathon, Ruengo had intensified his training, running with his children and grandchildren.
Five kilometers every morning and five every evening for four days a week, to keep fit, in addition to the usual diet.
"I love running, it's my life. If I hadn't embraced running, I wouldn't have been as active as I am at my age. Most of my peers have died from inactivity - Ruengo told the press - But now it seems to me that the body is surrendering and I would like to retire. If my condition improves, I could run in the next edition, but for now I want to stop training in a competitive way.
In the end the important thing was to raise funds for the fight against polio, a disease that in Italy not even remember but Kenya still reaps victims and damages the lives of so many children in an irreversible manner.
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