Long-distance runners are regarded as some of the best athletes in the world, and known to be incredibly health-conscious.
For a runner known as “Uncle Chen,” however, not so much.
The 50-year-old marathoner has left people worldwide stunned after photos of him chain-smoking during a recent marathon run in China went viral this week.
Chen, according to Runners World, finished the Xin’anjiang Marathon in Jiande, China while inhaling cigarette smoke the entire time.
More surprisingly, however, was that he crossed the finish line in 3 hours and 28 minutes — a very respectable time that placed him well into the top half of the 1,500-runner field.
Canadian Running Magazine reports that photos of Chen were posted by race organizers to Chinese social media site Weibo. The organizers also posted a photo of his finishing certificate.
Chen, according to the magazine, also smoked his way through the 2018 Guangzhou Marathon and 2019 Xiamen Marathon.
He finished the 2018 race in 3 hours and 36 minutes and the 2019 race in 3 hours and 32 minutes, according to Canadian Running Magazine.
As well as running marathons, it’s reported that Uncle Chen is also an ultramarathon runner, distancing up to 50 kilometres or running for 12 hours straight.
And while the use of performance-enhancing drugs is prohibited in most of the sporting world, there are technically no rules that ban smoking during these Chinese marathons.
However, CBS reports that some Weibo users expressed frustration that Chen is continually allowed to smoke while running, saying that it’s not fair to the other athletes running in his vicinity.