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Joe Strummer was a runner

Strummer ran three marathons before his untimely death, from a heart defect, at age 50. His approach to fuelling was somewhat unconventional

“Drink 10 pints of beer the night before the race and don’t run a single step at least four weeks before the race.” This was the advice given by Joe Strummer, frontman for the iconic 1980s punk band The Clash, to Steppin’ Out magazine in 1999 on how to run a marathon. Strummer himself ran the 1982 Paris Marathon during an extended hiatus from the band, who had no idea where he was at the time. According to Far Out Magazine, Strummer also claims to have run the London marathon in 1979 and 1983.

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He adds a caveat: “Do not try this at home. I mean, it works for me and Hunter Thompson but it might not work for others. I can only tell you what I do.”

Strummer’s time is believed to have been around 3:20.


Strummer, whose real name was John Graham Mellor, was born in Turkey in 1952 and travelled the world with his family (who were diplomats), living in Egypt and Mexico before being sent to boarding school at age nine while the family went to live in Africa. It was at boarding school that he became a runner.

Strummer died of a congenital heart defect in 2002. 

Other musician marathon runners

A surprising number of famous musicians are also runners. Here’s a sampling:

Sean “P. Diddy” Combs: New York City Marathon, 2003. Finishing time: 4:14

Björn Ulvaeus, ABBA: Stockholm Marathon, 1980. Finishing time: 3:23:54

Alanis Morissette: Bizz Johnson Trail Marathon, 2009. Finishing time: 4:17:03

Flea, Red Hot Chili Peppers: Los Angeles Marathon, 2011 and 2012. Finishing times: 3:53 and 3:41:49.

Ben Gibbard, Death Cab for Cutie: Los Angeles Marathon, 2011. Finishing time: 3:56:34

Joey McIntyre and Danny Wood, New Kids on the Block: Boston Marathon, 2014. Finishing times: 3:48:11 (McIntyre) and 3:50:00 (Wood).