Grandpa Runs Entire Marathon in 3.5 Hours While Smoking Cigarettes

by Jonathan Howard
Getty Images

A lot of former smokers turn to running as a way to kick their habit, this Chinese marathon runner decided he would do both, cigarettes and all. Photos from the Xin’anjiang Marathon in Jiande made news and showed the man known as Uncle Chen lightning up throughout the 26.1-mile race.

People like to joke about athletes in the middle of the 1900s smoking cigarettes and performing at high levels. In fact, Jesse Owens was known for his smoking habit throughout his amazing track & field career. Whatever he’s doing, it apparently works for Uncle Chen. Now, marathons and cigarettes don’t mix for most of the population, so I don’t recommend trying this for yourself.

What is even more impressive, Uncle Chen is 50 years old and puffing throughout the marathon. His time of 3 hours 28 minutes and 45 seconds shows that he’s no slouch, either. That’s more than 26 miles at 8:00 minute pace per mile. You don’t just walk out of the house with a pack of smokes and run a time like that.

While a lot of runners will strap up with gels and goos and packets of energy boosters, bottles of water, and more – Chen just needs a pack of Marlboro Reds to get through the race. What I can’t stop thinking about are the folks around him. You have to think that Uncle Chen is able to beat certain competitors by smoking them out and messing up their breathing. He’s got the edge there, for sure.

The photos of the chain-smoking runner made the rounds on Chinese social media. No matter where he was pictured over the course of the race, he had a cigarette in hand or was actively lighting one up.

Cigarette Smoking Marathon Runner No Rookie

If you check out Uncle Chen’s racing history, it is clear that he is not only competing at a high level for his age, but he’s getting faster. By all measures that we have from NY Post, the runner has competed in marathons for the last several years. This last race might have even been his personal best. Is there any way that we can get this guy to the Boston Marathon?

Since 2018, he’s taken about 10 minutes off of his time. That’s nothing to scoff at right there. At his pace, he’s improved by more than a mile ahead of where he was four years ago. This world is full of so many people doing all kinds of wild things. If we’re being honest, there are probably more runners just like him that like to light up before, during, or after their workouts.

So, what do you think Outsiders? Do you know an athletic smoker like Uncle Chen out there that is just waiting for their moment in the spotlight? Maybe your cousin Craig smokes heaters down at the pickup basketball games or something. We don’t judge. Getting outside and active is good for you. But, maybe kick that smoking habit if you can.