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World’s Fastest Man To Take On The Bob Graham

In the run up to this festive season and with no OMM to report on, we sent our intrepid events reporter a little further north to catch up with the world’s fastest man and learn a few insights into how the rapidly changing world has impacted on his activities and how he is responding in turn.

Despite appearances, the Chubby Chimney Botherer has a decent 5k under his sizeable belt and in fact, briefly held the North Pole ParkRun record, only recently beaten by a workshop elf with carbon inserts in their curly shoes. Though this record has since been cast into doubt after reports of a jiffy bag full of medicinal fairy dust being found under their bunk.

 

When asked about the secret to his phenomenal endurance, which allows him to cover thousands of miles in the course of one single night, the Sleigh-Bound Celebrity cited his tactical use of the numerous aid stations dotting the route. His nutrition strategy involves “smashing as many mince pies as a I can, whilst staying hydrated with whisky, brandy or, at a push, port and maybe sherry, with milk for recovery”. For those wishing to pursue the Santa-Claus-Couch-to-North-Pole Program, a leaflet is available, with complimentary Rennies, via the Christmas Post. The step-by-step program focusses on the importance of building up gradually, starting with one mince-pie a day, right up to the millions consumed over the night of the 24th by the big man himself.

The Winter Wizard fits in a couple of strides at the end of each session

In addition to updating his wardrobe, the Bearded-Bimbler-In-Chief has elected to shoe his 9 record breaking reindeer with studded rubber outsoles

Workshop elves have faced extensive supply chain pressures but still find time for reps

Eschewing his trademark velvet and fur trim for the 4 way stretch and unbeatable breathability of the Kamleika Jacket and over-trousers, Santa has been forced to respond to our changing climate. As well as providing unrivalled weather protection, the Selection Box Slinger noted how “the super soft face fabric is incredibly quiet as I tip-toe across various living rooms”.

And it’s not just his outer layers, he has also chosen to move away from traditional insulation such as fur and down, opting instead for the recycled synthetic fibres of Primaloft, much better suited to the higher rainfall and the rigours of steep chimney descents.

Gone too is the trademark hessian sack, swapped out for a much more streamlined and easily accessed race vest, though it was a struggle to find one to fit his “round little belly (that shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly)”.

Gone too is the trademark hessian sack, swapped out for a much more streamlined and easily accessed race vest, though it was a struggle to find one to fit his “round little belly (that shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly)”.

In addition to updating his wardrobe, the Bearded-Bimbler-In-Chief has elected to shoe his 9 record breaking reindeer with studded rubber outsoles, after the increase in global temperatures has turned the predominant underfoot conditions from crisp snow to thick mud, more reminiscent of that final descent off Leg 1 of the Hodgson Relay.

After a sponsorship opportunity became available with one of mountain running’s biggest brands, the Rotund Reindeer Wrangler was able to put forward Rudolph and the others for a shoe deal.

Speaking of their new ambassador role, one of the herd was reported as saying “if the previous lad managed a Bob Graham in 12hr 52min, imagine how quick we could do it!”

Fuelling is very important, especially on those long, all night efforts
And not forgetting hydration. Here Santa opts for Port for its high sugar content and easy digestion

When asked for more detail, the Festive Fuzzball pointed in the opposite direction and shouted “look, a polar bear!” before running off and hiding in a fridge.

By swapping the velvet and fur, Santa has lightened his layering system, allowing for more airtime

It’s all change back at the workshop too, with disruption to international shipping and increases in export duty; each gift label now requires a full commodities breakdown of the contents and a written declaration of the value and origin of each component. Add to this the restrictions on workshop capacity, with many elves furloughed for most of the year and those remaining forced to work from home, it has been a challenging time both in supply chains and distribution.

One elf explained the difficulties they faced; “Take this jack-in-the-box, right. A simple, traditional toy, right? Wrong! See that spring? That’s made in France, that then has to cross 6 borders to get here, each requires a form filling out, in triplicate. Next there’s the paint, which we had to change the formula of to comply with the new hazardous chemical directive from Lapland. Then there’s the box itself, we’ve had to switch to sustainably grown cedar, so we can meet carbon neutral goals. Except now everything has to be wi-fi enabled, so then we need the chip from Japan, except a sleigh-load got stuck in a shipping container wedged in some canal. Add to that the lack of reindeer willing to work for minimum carrots and half the elves striking over mandatory candy cane prescriptions and you’ve got a perfect storm. I mean, have you ever tried building a PlayStation over Zoom!?”.

Even without these challenges, the usual seasonal pattern of these skilled workers has been disrupted in other ways too. Another stripey-socked employee told us: “We’ve even had to cancel our Christmas party, luckily we had a business meeting planned the same day so we were able to keep the DJ booking.”

But despite these challenges and adaptations, the white-haired wonder remains optimistic about this year’s big event; “We have been able to strategically pivot, in a forward-facing and solutions-based manner that is not only holistic but also rooted in a ground-up approach with a focus on future-proof thinking and whole-world forecasting, using real-time management of key resources to ensure we have a time-critical approach to evolving challenges in the global landscape.” When asked for more detail, the Festive Fuzzball pointed in the opposite direction and shouted “look, a polar bear!” before running off and hiding in a fridge.

Santa realises he's left the oven on.
Hard uphill efforts are the perfect training ground for those steep pitched roofs.
Hard uphill efforts are the perfect training ground for those steep pitched roofs.

So, as you lay tucked up in bed, waiting for the sound of carbon fibre sled runners, softly landing on the roof, along with the unmistakable squeak of unobtanium-infused rubber outsoles and the soft rustle of revolutionary 4-way stretch nylon faced waterproof fabric, just remember; it doesn’t matter if the sprouts burn, if you get socks again or how racist your Uncle Brian is, you can always just go for a run instead.

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