On April 21st, 1982, three weeks before the release of Combat Rock, Joe Strummer, at the height of The Clash’s fame, ran the Paris Marathon with his girlfriend Gaby Salter after allegedly drinking 10 pints of beer the night before.
Gaby didn’t finish the race, and neither one officially registered, which would explain the lack of a race bib in the photo below. The beard was so he could stay incognito while traveling around Paris.
The 1982 Paris Marathon wasn’t Strummer’s first or only marathon. He allegedly ran the 1981 London Marathon as well as the 1983 London Marathon which was sponsored by and – sponsored by the supermarket tabloid The Sun. He claimed to have ran the 1983 marathon in 4 hours and 13 minutes, which is pretty good time to run 26.2 miles.
In a 1999 interview with Steppin’ Out magazine, Joe Strummer, talked about his “training regime”:
Q: Didn’t you once run in the Paris Marathon?
Joe: Yep. I ran three of them.
Q: Correct me if I’m wrong but is it also true that you never trained for any of them?
Joe: You shouldn’t really ask me about my training regime, you know.
Joe: Because it’s not good and I wouldn’t want people to copy it.
Q: Don’t make me beat it out of you.
Joe: Okay, you want it, here it is. Drink 10 pints of beer the night before the race. Ya got that? And don’t run a single step at least four weeks before the race.
Q: No running at all?
Joe: No, none at all. And don’t forget the 10 pints of beer the night before. But make sure you put a warning in this article, “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.
Did Joe Strummer actually run the Paris Marathon in 1982? Who knows. Joe liked to stretch the truth and make some things up from time to time, but it honestly wouldn’t surprise us if Joe woke up one morning after a night of drinking and said I’m going to run a marathon today, and it wouldn’t surprise us if he didn’t register, and it wouldn’t surprise us if he finished.