Marathon Boy Running For His Life

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Oct. 28, 2011
  • Updated Oct. 28, 2011 at 10:25 AM UTC
Budhia Singh has run 48 marathons. Photo: HBO

His coach thinks he has a “gift” for distance running

Budhia Singh has run 48 marathons. Photo: HBO

America has its fair share of overzealous sports parents–those who push their child to excel to the point of winning a scholarship, or, in the case of Tiger Woods, a PGA championship.

It turns out India is no different. HBO is airing a documentary called “Marathon Boy” about little Budhia Singha, a slum boy from Orissa, India, and his adoptive father, Biranchi Das, who runs a local orphanage and judo hall.

Das buys the boy out of servitude for 800 rupees ($16) and soon discovers the boy has a “gift” for long-distance running. While being coached by Das, Singh runs an astonishing 48 marathons before the age of 5. Das then makes Singh run a 42-mile race in oppressive heat nearly killing him.

This gets the attention of child-welfare agencies who get involved.

Das had originally discovered his little athlete’s talent by making him run as a punishment for swearing.

“The kid has such an abundance of stamina,” says Das. “He is 100% determined. He is inching toward perfection.”

For More: The Wall Street Journal

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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