Friday 19 June 2015
Going Underground: A new Guinness World Record?
We talk to Sports Facilities Assistant, Sam Cropper who is currently training to take part in the London Underground Challenge. He is even hoping to break a Guinness world!
I am often asked why on earth I would want to undertake a public transport challenge, especially one that is at a subterranean level of England’s capital, in the middle of summer! To answer this question and a few more, I should probably explain what this challenge entails!
The challenge itself is simple enough to explain, however, it is the rules and regulations that are the trickiest part to break down. The official title of my challenge is “The London Underground Challenge” and it is exactly what it says on the tin, you must visit all the London Underground stations in the quickest time possible.
However, in the fine print, it states that you are not allowed to use any private transport (bicycles, scooters, taxi’s, cars, etc.) and to document the challenge, you must take time stamped pictures of the station signs, time the challenge on multiple stopwatches (we will be using roughly 3), document the time the train arrives, the time the doors open, the time the doors close and the time the train departs!
Oh and I forgot to mention, sometimes the quickest route is to leave the underground and run to a different station which are sometimes inconveniently not as close as they seem on the tube map! To add to all of this, your day will start with waking up in a random hotel room bed at 3:30am near Heathrow airport and your day will end once you have completed your 16 hours and 30 minute journey across 270 stations. That’s correct, 16 hours and 30 minutes to get across 270 underground stations! Crazy!
That is what any average underground traveller would call a nightmare. To add to this, I will be undertaking another challenge the day before which is not as extreme, but would still give regular commuters night terrors. I will also be running the Zone 1 underground challenge on the 28 June.
This challenge is the same but in zone 1 of the underground, it will be difficult in a different way as I leave Southampton for London then I am straight onto the underground to meet my team mate at our start point. This challenge goes on for 2 hours and 30 minutes so is not as long as the official underground challenge!
My team mate, Matt has broken this record before but unfortunately had his record beaten before Guinness World Records could actually confirm and put him in the record books. This is our main motivation for completing the zone 1 challenge. Well, that and the fact we have planned a record beating time! We firmly believe that we can beat the existing records and come back from our time in London with not one but two records broken. The main event will most likely be down to our speed away from the tracks, however the zone 1 challenge will be a bit of both.
The team is more of a duo than an entire team, I will be running it with my oldest friend from my home town, Matt. Matt is on his 7th underground challenge and has made it into the top 50 records for the challenge with one of his previous attempts. This will be my second attempt, after my first attempt with Matt went…slightly awry (is one way to put it). After 9 hours of running, recording and sitting down on the hottest day of the year, my body couldn’t take it anymore and I ended up passing out on the district line train to Upminster.
As a result, we terminated the challenge early and I have regretted not beating the challenge ever since. So I am out to seek vengeance against the underground and I will conquer it by visiting every station! The research into the stations are planned around 7 months in advance and then we will search for quicker times and certain unavoidable breaks (lunch, toilet, etc) will be accounted for. You wouldn’t believe the amount of hours Matt and myself have spoken on the phone in planning our Guinness word record attempt.
This year we are raising charity for Mind the mental health charity after the loss of a huge supporter of ours, Matt’s uncle tragically lost his battle with his condition – the challenge is in the memory of him. Mind provide support to anyone who is suffering from a mental illness or anyone in a crisis. They provide advice and are an open ear for anyone who wants to talk. We are also raising money for Cancer Research as they are a charity of which we have supported us throughout all past challenges.
If you would like to help us then we are taking donations on our Just Giving page found here: www.justgiving.com/teams/LUCA7