NEW YORK (TIP): Dr. Avtar Singh Tinna, a dentist by profession, has added yet another Marathon to his long career in running Marathons. On Sunday, November 3rd, 2013, he ran his 22nd NYC Marathon. Since 1991, Dr. Tinna has been a regular in the 26.2-mile New York City Marathon-running with his club -Sikhs of America. Donning their signature Tshirts labeled “Proud to be a Sikh” the teammates run with their saffron (kesri) turbans, attracting an enormous crowd of spectators as they trek through the city’s five boroughs. This year, in fact, a staggering 2 million spectators watched the event along on the city’s streets and more than 315 million via international live broadcast. A new addition this year to Dr. Tinna’s loud pageantry was the fact that he ran the entire race while carrying a Nishan Sahib, the sacred flag of the Sikhs. He ran this year alongside his two friends (and strong patrons of the community) Satnam Singh Parhar and Dr. Ashok K. Dogra. Dr. Tinna, a dentist by profession, maintains a practice in Queens, New York City.
He was born in Punjab, India in the village of Seh Jhangi, Jalandhar. Having studied at DAV College in Jalandhar and graduating from Punjab Government Dental College and Hospital in Amritsar, Dr. Tinna moved to New York in 1980 where he lives with his wife and four children. Famed marathoner Fauja Singh, a 102- year old Sikh from the United Kingdom captured the attention of the Guinness Book of World Records. As it so happened, Dr. Tinna himself personally drew crowds this week-many runners and supporters frantically cheering “Fauja Singh! Fauja Singh!” as he made his trek. Nevertheless, Dr. Tinna and Fauja Singh do share some history: in 2003, Sikhs in America invited Fauja Singh to run the NYC Marathon. This proved to be a pivotal moment for Fauja Singh, earning him the world’s admiration in this prestigious event. Since the 2003 Marathon, the two have maintained an appreciable personal and professional correspondence. According to Dr. Tinna, he runs for Sikh identity.
Championing for years a place for the Sikhs in an increasingly globalized society, Dr. Tinna encourages young Sikhs to take up the cause and run. Dr. Tinna trained Satnam Singh Parhar and Dr. Ashok Dogra both in their sixties who ran for the first time and completed the Marathon quite comfortably. If anyone is interested in participating in next year’ s Marathon please feel free to contact Dr. Tinna at 718-291-1200. It was heartening to find that many Indian ran the Marathon this year. Besides Satnam Singh Parhar and Dr. Ashok Dogra, others who ran included Mandeep Singh Sobti, Piara Singh, Lakhvir Singh and Hamesh Singh, all of the Sikhs. Is it an impact of Bhaag, Milkha, Bhaag? Marathon 2013 had 50,304 runners participating. It was the 43rd NYC Marathon. Last year there was no Marathon because of the Superstorm Sandy. The Marathon this time had a tighter security in view of an earlier terrorist attack in Boston in the month of April. Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya was the first male to finish in 2:08:24 and the female to finish first was Priscah Jeptoo of Kenya who finished in 2:25:07.