If we ask, what you were doing at the age of 4, you’ll probably say, “dozing off in my mother’s lap or playing.” We agree, most of us did that. Though, there’s one inspiring case that tells the story, otherwise.
That such case is Budhia Singh.
A boy aged 4 turned the quarter of a marathon to the whole new horizon. Rising from the sparks of a slum, this boy was thought of being the next Milkha Singh. But, the puppets of destiny had other plans. Somewhere in the midst, this little master lost his way. Not because of any fault of his, but some specific rules and regulations. Who is to blame? Sadly, no one.
However, the lost charm is now rediscovered and so is his dream to run in the Olympics. But, what led to the dawn of this young road-runner again? How did he achieve the honorable title of “World’s Youngest Marathon Runner?” And, where was he all this time? All these speckles have only one answer: The Tale of Budhia Singh.
Deciphering the Story of the Little Marathon Runner
“A marathon will help you discover the strengths you never knew you had.” – Anonymous.
Budhia at the age of 3 was sold by his mother to a vendor for INR 850 ($13); the early death of Budhia’s father and their poverty being the reasons. The plan didn’t work quite well as Biranchi Das, a judo trainer and orphanage operator, rescued the boy & took him to his coaching center. Since then, Budhia was his disciple.
One fine day, Das caught Budhia using slouchy slang words to his mates. As a result, he punished the little and asked him to run laps for his deed. Biranchi left the boy to complete his punishment. After hours when he returned, he found Budhia still running. At that point of time, Das realized Budhia’s potential to run for long periods without getting weary.
And soon, Biranchi started training the little runner. Budhia would begin running at the break of dawn til sunset. He also began participating in marathons with the support of Das, all this when he was 3. By the time he was 4, Budhia had already participated in 48 marathons. The young lad had no idea of his prominence and popularity. All he knew was that he loved running.
Another turning point in Budhia Singh’s life was when he attained a place in the Limca Book of Records. He ran a 65 km marathon from Puri to Bhubaneshwar in just 7 hours and 2 minutes creating a benchmark record & earning the world’s youngest marathon runner title in 2006.
Fame Comes with a Price!
As soon as media discovered this golden kid, his young age became a matter of concern for the ‘so-called children welfare societies.’
Where overnight everyone was praising this wonder-kid, the other night his coach was served with the blame of child exploitation.
The headlines of some news reported, “Biranchi Das used the little boy for his own gain. He is too young to run this long. If the boy further runs marathons, he may suffer an early onset of osteoarthritis, which may incapacitate him in future.” Although the straining and pressure point was correct, Das did not do anything for his good. Later, Budhia was temporarily banned from running the marathons.
The Now Life of BUDHIA, the World’s Youngest Marathon Runner
As of now, Budhia’s life is enclosed to Kalinga stadium hostel, Bhubaneswar. The coach, Rupanwita Panda says, “He’s like the rest. There exist nothing special about him now.” At the hostel, he is coached for 100-200 meter races. Do you think, Budhia is getting the right training?
Amid all this, the young wonderkid still aspires to return to the running sphere. He says, “I want to run and represent my country in Olympics.” Budhia also mentions, “I don’t remember much about Sir Das. He was good to me and treated me well. Sir Das asked me to run, and I ran.”
“If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience a different life, run a marathon.” – Emil Zatopek
Budhia Singh is an inspiration to all who despite having potential, sit back. The gap and no proper training has still not broken his dream of running the Olympics. And so, it sets him apart from the rest. Dedicated to him, Budhia Singh: Born to Run.