Tube Challenge ’07: May 18

When my friend ran the Chicago Marathon, we followed her progress on The L. We had a transit authority map that we pre-plotted, and we met her and cheered her on at various stages of the race. It was great fun and somewhat like being in a mini-version of the Amazing Race. Consequently, if I was in or near London on May 18 of this year, I could definitely see myself participating in the Tube Challenge.

During most of the year, London’s Tube is a necessary evil. However, for certain intrepid individuals, the Tube Challenge — a race through London’s Underground — is a fierce contest between rival teams. An official Guinness World Record event, the currently recognized record time for doing a tour of the London Underground taking in all of the 275 stations, is 18 hours, 35 minutes and 38 seconds, by Sam Cawley and Steve Wilson on May 30, 2006. (However, the following September, two Swedes — Håkan Wolge and Lars Andersson — hit all 275 stops in only 18 hours, 25 minutes and 3 seconds. They’re still awaiting confirmation from Guinness, though, before bragging rights are officially theirs.)

On May 18, a Zone 1 Challenge will be staged. A Zone 1 Challenge means racers *only* have to hit 63 stations. The record for this event is 2 hours, 45 minutes, 11 seconds — as long as a long-ish movie — held by Ric Brackenbury. For more details on this Zone 1 Challenge — including start times and where to meet — hit the Tube Challenge forum.