Uncle Completes 42KM Marathon While Smoking A Pack Of Cigarettes From Start To Finish

There were no official rules that prohibited marathon runners from smoking cigarettes as they competed.

Cover image via Weibo

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Many athletes go to great lengths when preparing for their sport of choice, all in the name of performing well.

But one man found just the thing to get him through a 42km marathon.

Two Saturdays ago, on 6 November, the latest instalment of the Xin An Jiang marathon was held in Jiande, a city within the Zhejiang Province of East China. 

However, the world soon caught attention of photos that surfaced on Weibo from the event — not from the winners, or the organisers, but from one particular racer who found an interesting way to aid his journey.

Simply known as Uncle Chen, the 50-year-old runner was caught stealing the spotlight after it was discovered that he ran the entire marathon while smoking cigarettes

According to Chinese media publication, Sohu, Uncle Chen had a pack of cigarettes in his pocket, and pulled one out whenever he needed it while running the marathon.

Uncle Chen running the Xin An Jiang marathon.

Image via Weibo

It was revealed that Uncle Chen finished the 42km race in just three hours, 28 minutes, and 45 seconds — placing 574th out of nearly 1,500 competitors

Surprisingly enough, it was also noted that this has been Uncle Chen's best record so far. In 2018, Uncle Chen has taken three hours and 36 minutes to run the marathon, while in 2019, he took three hours and 32 minutes instead — making the 2022 marathon his own record-breaking hit.

According to Canadian Running Magazine, Uncle Chen would also constitute as an ultramarathoner, having participated in marathons with distances from 50km, to timed races that last 12 hours.

Image via Weibo

The marathon organisers have also acknowledged Uncle Chen's achievement, sharing his finishing certificate online as proof of his accomplishment

Uncle Chen's finishing certificate for the Xin An Jiang marathon, as provided by the organisers.

Image via Sohu

Uncle Chen has taken part in multiple other runs since 2017, as reported by Hong Kong news portal HK01.

Once this story hit the Internet by storm, more photos of Uncle Chen having competed in past marathons emerged as well, including the 2018 Guangzhou Marathon.

And just like this race, Uncle Chen's past marathon photos also include him sporting a cigarette in his mouth as he sprints forward.

Uncle Chen at a 2018 marathon.

Image via Weibo/Oddity Central

And while many people found humour in Uncle Chen's tactic to conquer the race, others criticised his chain-smoking as endangering his fellow competitors

"Whoever that was running next to him is very unlucky!" commented one Weibo user, while another asked if his smoking would be considered a doping violation for the marathon.

Image via Weibo
Image via Weibo

One commenter warned Uncle Chen, saying that the impact of his smoking would not do him any good, while someone else said, "Serious runners don't smoke."

Another person stated that those who ran behind him would probably be inhaling second hand smoke, though one more commenter said that his actions, and smoking in general, should be banned from the marathon.

Image via Weibo
Image via Weibo

At the time of writing, no official rules have been released from the organisers regarding smoking rules during the marathon

And though we at SAYS champion Uncle Chen in all his efforts to tackle this race, we'd also encourage him to cut back on the smoking to protect himself and other runners in the future.

Image via Weibo

While Uncle Chen added some humour for viewers, 88-year-old Malaysian Uncle Ong showed that you're never too old to partake in marathons:

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