Smoking marathoner may face ban in China
He is 50 years old. He runs the marathon. And he chain-smokes - WHILE running the distance of more than 42km in under 3½ hours.
Images of Chen Bangxian puffing away like a chimney during a race in China went viral last month.
What is even more bizarre is that "Uncle Chen" or "Smoking Brother" as he is known, is reportedly not a regular smoker. It seems he lights up only during races.
And he can do that because there is no specific rule that he cannot.
Now the Chinese Athletic Association is proposing that marathon runners be barred from smoking.
The latest images on Sina Weibo appeared after the Xin’anjiang Marathon in Jiande on Nov 6.
And they sparked a debate online.
Some felt it was his personal choice, while others argued that it was not only bad to make something so unhealthy visible at a sporting event, it was also harmful to other runners around him.
Running magazine reported that he finished the race 574th in 3:28:45 out of nearly 1,500 runners.
It said he had also smoked during the 2018 Guangzhou Marathon and the 2019 Xiamen Marathon, both of which he completed in a little over 3½ hours.