Running a marathon is quite a grueling athletic feat — specifically on the lungs and respiratory system. Now, imagine deliberately making that feat even more grueling by adding in cigarettes. That’s what a runner in the recent Xin’anjiang Marathon in Jiande, China, chose to do.
On Nov. 6, a runner that goes by the nickname “Uncle Chen” ran the Xin’anjiang Marathon in three hours and 28 minutes while chain-smoking cigarettes, according to Canadian Running.
After the race, photos of Uncle Chen chain-smoking surfaced on the Chinese social media app Weibo. They have since gone viral.
When people online began questioning the legitimacy of accomplishment, marathon organizers shared his finishing certificate from the marathon. He miraculously finished 574th in 3:28:45 out of a group of nearly 1,500 competitors — all while smoking.
This is not the first time the Chinese man, who is 50, has gained notoriety for smoking while competing in a race.
Uncle Chen was also photographed running the 2018 Guangzhou Marathon and the 2019 Xiamen Marathon while smoking cigarettes. He turned in a time of 3:36 in the Guangzhou Marathon while finishing the Xiamen Marathon in 3:32 in 2019, according to Canadian Running.
While some users on Weibo were frustrated that Uncle Chen was permitted to smoke while competing in the marathon, there are no rules that state runners can’t smoke while competing.