“I’ve paced dozens of races but never helped pace Buddy from Elf to a Guinness World Record!” was the rather surreal message posted to Facebook by ultra running legend and current backyard ultra marathon record holder Harvey Lewis this week.
But that was exactly what happened at this year’s Warm Up Columbus Half Marathon. It could almost be an Elf sequel – part whimsical fantasy, part Chariots of Fire.
Last Sunday, Jason Homorody, 50, was attempting to break the world record for the fastest half marathon time while dressed as a movie character (which had stood at 1hr 30min 42sec). His character of choice was Buddy the Elf from the Will Ferrell-starring 2002 Christmas classic. It wasn’t Homorody’s first time in the outsized elf costume – he regularly wears the costume to “cheer people up” – but this time he was on a mission, and he got an unexpected little helper to give him a hand: Harvey Lewis.
“[He] came up on my shoulder and asked me what pace I was going for,” Homorody tells Runner’s World. “Once I answered some questions, he asked if he could run with me. Honestly, at first, I had no idea who he was. But he ran with me the entire race.”
A race that ended with Buddy nabbing that new world record, with a time of 1hr 25min 45sec, knocking more than five minutes off the previous record.
Homorody says Lewis helped him with hydration: “He kept encouraging me to get water because I think he was concerned about me overheating in my costume.”
They also chatted about Lewis’s achievements. “I was picking his brain about ultramarathoning,” says Homorody. “I knew he recently had a crazy backyard ultra world record, and I was asking if he was almost falling asleep at any point while running, and he said yes.
Lewis in his Facebook post is amused at the crowds shouting, “We hope you find your Dad!” along route.
“Lewis was just a very down-to-earth guy, and he seemed genuinely excited to help pace me to my world record attempt,” Homorody said of this new, ahem, buddy story.
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