India's Ashis Roy, 78, completes 108th marathon

India's Ashis Roy, 78, completes 108th marathonWashington, April 4 - India's grand old marathon man Ashis Roy has completed his 108th marathon with a run in Yakima River Canyon Marathon along an exceptionally scenic course with spectacular views.

But with temperatures near freezing point andstrong winds along the 26.2 mile course from Ellensburg to Selah in Washington State with two major hills and many curves, Roy at 78 the second oldest person among 500 participants finished third in the 75-79 age group Saturday.

Though at seven hours and 15 minutes, it was his slowest time ever, Roy was happy that he overtook a runner in his fifties and another in his thirties just before the finish in rural Selah, near the canyon's mouth, a few hundred feet downhill.

The oldest participant in the race 81-year-old Bob Dolphin finished the run in eight hours 38 minutes and 56 seconds.

As a member of the 100 marathoners club, Roy, the lone Indian participant in the event sponsored by Yakima Hard Core Runners Club was honoured with a plaque. As a special gesture, a large Indian flag brought by Roy fluttered at the start and finish of the course.

The veteran Indian runner, who completed his 100th marathon in Mumbai Jan 17, has no plans to hang his boots yet. He is set to run in Potomac River Run marathon in Washington DC May 2.

Roy, who has penned a book on "Joy of Running" is listed in the Limca Book of Records, and has, to date, competed in 38 marathons in India and 70 marathons in 20 other countries, including the International Veterans Marathon in Athens in 1986.

Roy, a resident of New Delhi, began running marathons at the age of 52 when he retired as a cardiologist with the Indian Air Force. (IANS)