Uncle Chen smoking marathon man

Uncle Chen is never puffed out!

Please don't try this at home...

As you know, here at runABC, we like to bring your attention to the extraordinary and this particular running story is about as bizarre as they come. With a strong health warning of: "Please don't try this at home", meet the chain-smoking Chinese marathon runner who can run 26.2 miles in less than three and a half hours without getting fagged out!

This is no ordinary tale of someone with a baccy habit who also runs a bit. This is the story of the 50-year-old Chinese grandfather known as "Uncle Chen", who finished 574th out of 1,500 runners in 3:28:45 (4:56/km pace) in the Xin'anjiang Marathon in Jiande, near Shanghai, on Sunday 6th November while smoking cigarettes.

Photos of the actions of "Uncle Chen" went viral on the social media site Weibo attracting a mainly negative response on health and safety grounds, although some saw humour in the issue. The official result shows Chen passed 5K in 24:02; 10K in 47:27 and halfway in 1:41:17 – so his second half took 1:47:28. Perhaps he was running out of puff after all!

Chinese media reports that Chen only smokes during marathons but it's not clear why he does. He ran the 2018 Guangzhou Marathon in 3:36 and the 2019 Xiamen Marathon in 3:32 while smoking, so his 3:28:45 this year represents his personal best. He started his marathon smoking career in 2017, and was then known by the nickname: "Smoking Brother".

There has been so much interest in this quirky story that the marathon organisers have released photos of Chen in action and also published his finisher certificate on social media. 

It is unlikely there will ever be a Guinness World Record for: "Running a marathon while smoking", and there have been questions regarding the legality of the activity. It has been stated locally that no competition rules were broken by Chen but we are pretty sure that if this had happened in a race held in the UK the runner would have been disqualified – surely?

So what do the readers of runABC think of "Smoking Brother" and his unhealthy behaviour? 

The floor is yours...

Image courtesy Xin'anjiang Marathon via Weibo

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