Never having had occasion to be the first to bring the news of a major military victory, I have never seen the point of running a marathon. Still, each to their own.
Giving the lie to the idea that to compete you must be in the peak of physical health is a 50-year-old Chinese man, Chen Bangxian, affectionately known as Uncle Chen, who has a particular trademark style. He chain-smokes the whole way round and that does not seem to stop him from completing the 26.2 miles in a respectable time. Chen has recently completed the Xin’anjiang Marathon in Jiande in 3 hours 28 minutes, coming a respectable 574 in a field of around 1,500 finishers.
He has done it before, completing the Guangzhou Marathon in 3 hours, 36 minutes in 2018 and the Xiamen Marathon the following year in 3 hours, 32 minutes. News of Chen’s achievement has gone “viral”, the organisers sharing photos of his completion certificate to dispel rumours that it was just fake news.
Some competitors are fuming, complaining that Chen’s unusual running style puts them at risk from passive smoking, and making the decision as to whether to pass him dependent upon which way the wind is blowing. Perhaps they are a little miffed that a middle-aged man with a gasper in his mouth is doing as well as them with their elaborate training regimes.
I wonder what he does with the dog ends.