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BBC随身英语 第339讲 Race Against Time 与时 本站原创 更新时间: 2011-10-20         

When it comes to running marathons, eight hours, 25 minutes and 16 seconds is not a world record.

This was the time it took Fauja Singh to complete the Toronto Waterfront Marathon on Sunday.

But Singh, born in India, is no spring chicken – he's 100 years old and his recent feat has made him the world's oldest marathon runner.

As an athlete, Singh was a late starter. In his late 80s, after the deaths of his wife and son, he decided he was not yet over the hill and took up running.

For Singh, being 100 is just a number. There aren't many centenarians in quite such rude health, but they are on the increase. Life expectancy in the UK today is around 80 but a total of 12,640 men and women are now centenarians compared with just 2,500 in 1980, according to official statistics.

In Britain, pensioners that reach this landmark age receive a congratulatory telegram from the Queen, herself an 86-year-old senior citizen.

Retailers and public services are having to adapt to this aging society. New figures reveal the amount of money spent annually by people over 65 in the UK is nearing the £100 billion (1 trillion yuan) mark. A whole sector of the economy is now catering to the needs of the grey pound.

Why do some people live to such a ripe old age? Scientists in Amsterdam may have come a little closer to discovering the secret to longevity; they've encoded the entire DNA sequence of a woman who lived to 115.

Of course, they could just ask Fauja Singh what his secret is. The old boy puts his long life down to ginger curry, tea and "being happy".

Quiz 小测验

1. Has Fauja Singh broken a world record for speed?
No. Fauja Singh's record is for being the world's oldest marathon runner.

2. Did Mr Singh feel old when he started running?
No. In his late 80s he decided that he was not yet over the hill and took up running.

3. Is this statement true, false or not given: People who reach 86 years old send a telegram to the Queen to congratulate her?
It is false. People who reach 100 years old receive a telegram from the Queen to congratulate them on their birthday.

4. What expression uses the colour of old people's hair to refer to their age?
The grey pound.

5. What role does ginger curry play in Fauja Singh's life?
He believes that it could be one of the secrets of his longevity.

Glossary 词汇表

no spring chicken 原意指童子鸡,(喻)上了年纪的人
a late starter 起步较晚的人
to be over the hill 不礼貌的表达,指走下坡路,走向衰老
(age) is just a number 年龄只是一个数字,喻年龄不代表什么,关键的是一个人的心态
a centenarian 百岁老人
to be in rude health 身体健壮
life expectancy 平均寿命
a pensioner 领养老金者,委婉指老年人
a landmark age 有特殊意义的岁数
a senior citizen 65岁以上的老年公民
the aging society 老年社会
the grey pound 灰色英镑,指老年群体的消费力
a ripe old age 老年,晚年
longevity 长寿
an old boy 男性老人
to put something down to something 为什么事情做出解释