are such a dedicated bunch that many to maximize oxygen intake for the 26.2-mile race. But a 50-year-old Chinese man decided to take a more leisurely approach this month, chain-smoking his way through the Xin’anjiang Marathon in Jiande, China.
And he did it in under 3 1/2 hours.
Chen Bangxian, nicknamed “Uncle Chen,” finished the arduous race on Nov. 6 in 3 hours and 28 minutes, according to afrom race organizers first reported in English-language media . Despite Chen’s apparent aversion to oxygen, he came in 574th place — out of about 1,500.
His time was nearly an hour faster than the 4-hour, 29-minute average finishing time for marathoners worldwide, according to a 2021.
Photos of the “grandpa” haveon the Chinese social media platform Weibo. They left digital onlookers in such disbelief that marathon organizers shared his finishing certificate online to lay the skepticism to rest.
Perhaps more surprising, Chen has successfully done this before. He ran the 2018 Guangzhou Marathon while smoking in 3 hours, 36 minutes — and even improved upon that the next year, finishing the 2019 Xiamen Marathon four minutes faster, according to Canadian Running.
While cigarettes certainly aren’t a performance-enhancing drug, some on Chinese social media questioned whether he was leaving his competitors in more than a cloud of dust.
Smoking “should be banned” from the race, wroteworried about the effects of secondhand smoke, according to a translation.
Cigarettes areto cause shortness of breath, headaches, emphysema, lung cancer and heart problems, among other issues.