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Saturday, January 24, 2004

London Olympics - a new sport involving the London Underground

Race the Tube - my Olympic Bid

I have very little interest in spectator sport or sport of any kind really. The Olympics bores me silly and the idea of it coming to London conjures up nightmares of even more overcrowded tubes, even more confused tourists asking the way to Lie-sester Square and whether it's best to change at the blue line (which blue line, there are two of them?), but the only good thing, might be that the tube finally runs throughout the night in 2012 - whoopeedoo.
The Guardian put the current tube to the test for getting around during the Olympics and unsurprisingly find it hopeless and totally confusing for tourists.

Anyway, various bloggers including my colleague Elizabeth and Diamond Geezer have recently been talking about what a real London Olympics would be like if we won the bid to host the games. What would the London Olympic mascot be? What sports would be truly unique to London?

This reminded me of a real race that used to take place in London every April called "Beat the tube race" - try as I might, I've not found anything about this particular race through Google, (I know the tube have their own official Tube Dash) but this man alone against train race is reported in the fab book "Eccentric London".

Basically, it was the idea of a chartered surveyor called Richard Guthrie, who thought it might be fun to outrun a tube train. "A group of determined young professionals, wearing braces and pinstripes, board a Victoria to Wimbledon train, get off at South Kensington and sprint like hell down the Fulham Road to try to get back on it at Fulham Broadway. 1.6 miles and four stops down the line".

Now knowing this is on the District Line with its constant stops between stops and delays, very few people managed to beat the tube. However, the whole thing is totally Pythonesque, with the pin striped suits and braces.

The author of Eccentric London reckons they would stood more of a chance cutting across "the Circle Line from Farringdon down to Blackfriars where you can virtually see the other end. You could do it on crutches, or pogo sticks and still beat the train". Excellent idea and I think it should definitely be an Olympic sport.


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