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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Can you run faster than a Tube train?

Yesterday it felt like I could actually walk faster than a London Underground train as the Northern Line was screwed in the morning and Piccadilly Line was screwed at night. However, Olympic triathlete Tim Don was challenged to race against some Circle Line trains last week, for the launch of ASICS new shop at Argyll Street.


ASICS Tube Race screengrab

Could he run the 965 metres between Baker Street and Edgware Road faster than the 7 minutes it's supposed to take on the Tube? Or would he beat the Endurance length of 4,988 metres from Tower Hill & St James's Park and make it there faster than the 17 minutes it'd take on the London Underground?

The odds would have probably been against him as at his fastest he can run at 15 miles an hour, whereas the Tube's fastest speed is 25 miles an hour. But if you're an athlete you can beat the Tube, as you can see from the YouTube video below -


If you fancy seeing if you can beat the Tube on a treadmill rather than actually dodging traffic and trying it on the roads, there's a treadmill and stuff at the new ASICS shop. Full details are on their website.

The whole exercise reminded me of the Beat the Tube Race which apparently was an annual event organised by chartered surveyor Richard Guthrie. Each April he got a group of blokes dressed in pinstriped suits and braces to get on a District Line train at Victoria bound for Wimbledon, get off at South Kensington, sprint like mad down the Fulham Road and try to get back on it at Fulham Broadway, a full 1.6 miles and four stops down the line. Very few of them actually made it, but it's all to prove the point that sometimes it's faster to walk or in these instances run like a maniac, than get the Tube.


On a more practical note for non sporty people like myself the distances between London Underground stations are often a lot closer than we think. You might remember that a group of students from Central St Martins College of Art put together a handy "Walkers Tube Map" which gave you walking distances between most stations in Zone One.

Perhaps ASICS could sponsor a running or sprinting map for budding athletes. Or the London Underground would probably ease congestion on the Tube a bit if there were more signs like the ones at Covent Garden, telling you it's quicker to walk to Leicester Square than travelling one stop on the Piccadilly Line.


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