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‘Breaking Bad’ star Bryan Cranston talks running in podcast interview

The Emmy-winning actor touched on his days of marathon running, a sport he stumbled into rather randomly

Photo by: Instagram/bryancranston

In a recent interview on the SmartLess podcast, actor Bryan Cranston talked about his history as a runner. The Emmy-winning star of the past hit shows Breaking Bad and Malcolm in the Middle is well known in the entertainment world, but many people will still be surprised to learn that he was an avid marathoner once upon a time. Cranston said he raced four marathons (two of which were at the New York City Marathon), posting sub-four-hour results on each occasion.



Jason Bateman, one of the hosts on SmartLess, asked Cranston what people would be shocked to learn he was great at. Likely in an attempt to be humble, Cranston responded with a joke, saying, “Loading the dishwasher. I’m an excellent loader of a dishwasher.” After a gentle nudge toward a real answer, Cranston brought up running. “I used to run marathons,” he said. “I was a marathon runner.” 

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Impressed by this, Bateman continued to ask questions about the marathon, although his phrasing made it clear that, while Cranston was a runner, Bateman probably isn’t. “Did you do the Boston?” Bateman asked. “Because you’ve got to do a sub-four.” To his credit, Bateman at least knows the term “sub-four,” but calling the race “the Boston” just sounds funny, as true runners opt for either “the Boston Marathon” or just “Boston.” Also, running sub-four hours isn’t how you qualify for Boston. For some age groups, that time will get you in, but for others, you need to run much faster. Anyway, we’ll let it slide. 


“I never did Boston,” Cranston responded. “[But] all four of my registered times were under four hours.” His PB at the distance (at least as far as we can tell based on listed results) was an impressive 3:20:45, and Cranston ran this time just one year after getting into the sport, which he sort of just stumbled upon when he saw people running the New York City Marathon in 1984. 

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“I stayed there for five and a half hours,” he said. “I’m watching this sea of humanity run. I heard myself say, ‘I could never do this.’ And then I stopped and I went, ‘Why couldn’t I do that?'” The next year, he took part in the race. While he doesn’t run anymore, he took the sport seriously for a few years, and we’re willing to bet he’ll do well if he ever gets back into it. Who knows, maybe he’ll even be able to qualify for the Boston.