Tube knowledge is a truly sacred thing. You can have been a user of the capital’s underground train network for decades and still learn new and interesting things about its labyrinthine structure.
And one of the most popular things to learn is which stations are much closer in real life than they might appear on the map. Classics like the ease of walking between Chancery Lane and Farringdon instead of a convoluted two-change/three-line arrangement. And things like the adjacent stations on lines that are actually ridiculously close together – Embankment and Charing Cross and Leicester Square and Covent Garden, since you’re asking.
But even we, with our years of Tube trivia, never thought that this was possible.
Filmed a couple of years ago, this clip of runner James Hepstonstall is now going viral on Twitter, mainly due its absolute amazingness, as he manages to get off a Circle line train at Mansion House, exit the station, run to Cannon Street, enter that station and then get back on the same carriage he left, while his friend Noel Carroll films the progress of the Tube to make sure we know it’s real.
Even though you know he’s going to make it, it’s still nerve-racking. The journey time, from doors opening at Mansion House to doors opening at Cannon Street, is just 71 seconds, so it’s a mighty impressive achievement.
‘Beating the subway’ was first done in Paris by François de la Taille in 2012, while Hepstonstall’s efforts inspired later versions in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Naples, Milan, Copenhagen and more.
He has also taken on another challenge, racing the tube from Moorgate to St James’ Park, although this isn’t quite as cool, since he doesn’t follow the train’s route, but instead cuts across London. Still impressive, nonetheless.
A still further challenge which has been successfully completed is a four-station dash on the District line, where people leave at South Kensington and then sprint a mile and a half to catch the same train at Fulham Broadway.
On the other hand, you could just, y’know, have a nice comfy seat instead? It’s your call...