'A puff and a puff': 50-year-old man finishes 26 mile marathon in three hours chain smoking all the way
It is well known that smoking cigarettes is bad for runners as it hinders performance, but on November 6, Chen made headlines after he ran a 26.2 mile marathon in 3 hours and 28 minutes while chain-smoking an entire pack of cigarettes. Chen finished the Xin'anjiang Marathon in Jiande, China, in 574th place out of nearly 1,500 runners.
The pictures showing Chen smoking went viral on Weibo, and the marathon's organizers congratulated his accomplishment by posting a photo of his finishing certificate. This was not the first time the 50-year-old Guangzhou runner was seen puffing away during a race, according to Sohu. Images of Chen smoking were also captured at the 2018 and 2019 Xiamen Marathons. An anecdotal report noteed that Chen was not a regular smoker. He only smoked when he ran. There are no reports to why he smoked while running, but it presumably has something to do with nicotine acting as a stimulant.
He also completed a 50 mile run in 12 hours and is an accomplished ultramarathoner. Even if Chen wasn't aiming for a Guinness World Record, there is no existing record for the fastest marathon runner while chain smoking. Many on Weibo shared their frustration that Chen was allowed to smoke during the race. "This type of behaviour should be banned from the race," a person commented. "I feel bad for the runners around him," said another. "Running is good for your health, smoking is bad for your health. Do they cancel each other out?" asked a third one.
Technically, smoking is not prohibited for runners because the majority understand that it would hinder their performance. While cigarettes are undoubtedly harmful, it can’t be denied that the man’s agility and strength are something else. However, people should be discouraged from following in his footsteps and smoking to achieve such results in a marathon. That aside, we hope Chen stays healthy in other aspects of his life so he can continue to run for many more years.
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