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Friday, February 18, 2011

Tube vs Foot - who will win?

This morning sees another of the experiments to "race against the London Underground". Over the years
running, cycling even walking have all been pitted against travelling on the Tube. The latest is a challenge by Stephen Wright who's going to see if he can run 17 routes faster than Sophie from Quonospotter can travel the same routes by Tube (see Stephen's blog for the route).

Stephen's doing this as part of a 400 mile challenge to run between every point on the Tube network within 9 months. It's to help to raise money and awareness for stillbirth and neonatal death charity SANDS after his wife suffered a late miscarriage and lost twins.

Stephen at West Ham Tube station

He's summed up some of the comments to Friday's challenge

"There's been mixed reaction as to who has the natural advantage:


- The Tube won't get lost
- The Tube won't get progressively more exhausted over the course of the 15 or so miles of journey
- The Tube has done the journey thousands of times before
- For the smaller stations, the distance from ticket hall to platform is inconsequential.
- The route is serviced by at least two lines: Hammersmith & City and the Circle.
- The tube-runner might be impeded by bad map planning or decoys (e.g. offering of free chocolates)
- Weather won't make the tube-goer's journey much less pleasant

Pro-Tube Runner

- Some of the distances between stations are very small <0.5 miles
- At 10 minute mile pace, the Tube runner immediately is underway without any 'dead' time to travel down escalators etc
- There is no guarantee that a Tube will be on platform when the Tube-goer gets there
- The Tube-Runner shouldn't break down and or stop inexplicably between stations
- The shortest distance between stations in the central area is often shorter than the track distance
- Er, actually there aren't many advantages for the Tube Runner!

Many comments have been along the lines of the runner being a dead certainty to beat the Tube every time.... If that's the case, then why do people use this Tube line at all? With an aging infrastructure and many extended delays, you have to ask why people volunteer to descend underground to travel in such cramped conditions when equivalent passage by foot might be more pleasant?"

Why indeed? Obviously not everyone is able to run or even walk their whole Tube journey to and from work. But challenges like this certainly make you think of the benefits of getting off a stop earlier than usual or at least not making Tube journeys for "short hop" trips where it is often "quicker to walk".

You can follow Stephen and Sophie's progress on Twitter where they'll be using the hashtag #rttl to give updates of their journey. They are setting off at 9.30am. May the best foot or rail win!

Alphabetical Tube Challenge - Also a longer Tube challenge will be taking place today - Ian Jones is going visit in order, a London Underground station for each letter of the alphabet! He said "The challenge should be manageable in one day. I did consider attempting a stricter mission, involving visiting, in order, the first A of all the As, the first B of all the Bs and so on. This, however, would have required me to cross the entire Underground network from one end to the other several times in a row (Dagenham East to Ealing Broadway to Fairlop, for example) and taken at least 16 hours."

You can also follow Ian's progress on Twitter! Hat tip to IanVisits

; Posted by annie mole Friday, February 18, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE