KUALA LUMPUR: Marathon runner Shaharudin Hashim is like wine – getting better with age.
The Parit Buntar-born runner only started competing in marathons a decade ago at the age of 27.
Despite a late start, the diminutive runner has been the national champion since 2004.
Fit as a fiddle: National marathon champion Shaharudin Hashim jogs past the Petronas Twin Towers during a workout in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. – SHAHRUL FAZRY
ISMAIL / The Star
And even though he is 37 now, he believes there is no one in Malaysia who can beat him in the Standard Chartered KL Marathon on June 24.
Shaharudin will be gunning for a record eighth KL marathon title (Malaysian category), having missed out only in 2008 when he finished second as he was down with fever.
He has also won the Penang Bridge marathon since 2004 and featured in the 2007 Korat SEA Games where he finished eighth.
Shaharudin said he had always wanted to run in marathons since he was young but only managed to compete in his first 42.2km event after joining the Police force in 2000.
“I applied for jobs with banks as the financial institutions were hiring national runners. But I failed to get a job and applied to join PDRM (Royal Malaysian Police) three times before I was finally selected in 2000.
“Two years later, I competed in my first KL marathon. I wouldn’t have become a marathon runner if not for PDRM as they gave me time off to train and compete. I’m grateful to them for their support and encouragement,” said Shaharudin, a corporal.
“Since making my debut in the 2002 KL marathon, I have been the national champion seven times but I still want to achieve more.
“I not only want to continue winning the KL marathon but want to break the national record of 2’29:27 set by K. Baskaran in Singapore in 2001,” said Shaharudin, who has a personal best of 2’33:21, which he did at the Seoul marathon in 2007.
Shaharudin said age was not a factor in running the marathon.
“I’m still fit as a fiddle and believe that I can continue running marathons until the age of 40. Marathon runners are like wine, we get better with age,” said Shaharudin.
“I’m also inspired by the world’s oldest marathon runner, Fauja Singh, who is almost 100 years old and still running.
“I met him in the Hong Kong marathon last month and was motivated by his exuberance and commitment.
“I want to set few records in Standard Chartered KL marathon before I quit in 2015.”