I was perusing Runner's World the other day, as I occasionally do if I'm in a mood to torture myself with the realization that my fastest race times are behind me. (Though I did finish 2nd in my age group in a 5k two weeks ago. If you think this post is an elaborate and thinly veiled attempt at self-congratulation, well, you might smarter than you look.) In between reading about the soul-breaking training sessions of world class ectomorphs and the best oatmeal and avocado-based diet for distance training, I happened across a heart-warming story about a man and his dog.
Or so I thought.
A guy named Jessey from Ontario, Canada just ran a 15:25 5k while tethered via leash to his dog, Hunter Buxbaum, setting a world record in the process. That's a pretty cool story, and Jessey was justifiably psyched.
But that wasn't half the story. At least it wasn't the amazing half. Turns out the Jessey isn't a man at all. He's an elf.
Born Ben Sayles, the 22 year-old Canadian grew up with a serious affinity for Christmas, and specifically for all things elven. He played an elf in a local holiday play for four consecutive years. And as the story goes,
"He thought it was fun and wanted to make the passion part of his identity. So two years ago, he underwent a five-hour operation to morph the tops of his ears into a point. The procedure cuts out a pie-shaped portion of skin, then sews the ends back together to form the sharpened apex. Elf (then with the last name Sayles) was awake during the surgery. He watched Interstellar, and of course, the Will Ferrell-classic, Elf, to distract himself from the pain." (To the latter, natch.)
And he paid the Canadian government $138 to legally change his name to Jessey the Elf.
Mr. The Elf is a serious triathlete (he finished 18th in last year's Canadian National Championships) and started running 5k races with his dog, a Hungarian Viszla, as part of his training regimen. The rest, as they say, is history.
According to the world's fastest elf, “People ask if, psychologically, I actually think I am an elf. It is not to that level. I just think it is cool having such a different name and pointed ears. It’s really out there.”
That's one way to put it. We celebrate you, Jessey the Elf. May your aerodynamic ears cut through the wind like a hot knife through maple syrup.