Faster than the speed of rail
Many of you will have seen the recent 'race the tube' videos that showed commuters racing (and beating!) trains on the London Underground, but did you know that the tenacious travellers are University of Birmingham alumni?
James Heptonstall (BSc Geography, 2006; MSc Water Resources Technology and Management, 2007) and Noel Carroll (BSc Sports and Materials Science, 2006) produced the videos where they race the London underground on foot. In their Race The Tube - Sprint James races a Circle line tube over one stop for a distance of 380m, while in Race The Tube - Endurance Noel races over 11 stops for a distance of 5km.
Both videos have become an internet sensation; the 'sprint' version has gone viral with over 5 million views so far! James and Noel have also been featured on TV, and in print and online media outlets across the world including the BBC, Sky, ITV, and Network 9 News in Australia.
"Its amazing how popular the video has been and all the feedback from everyone has been great" said James. "We have been getting messages from individuals saying that the video has inspired them to get into running or set themselves a challenge".
"Noel and I are good friends and both from sporting backgrounds; we met at the University of Birmingham when we were in halls together at Manor House and both competed for the University Athletics team". "Noel was a distance runner coached by Bud Baldaro and I was a sprinter and long jumper coached by Mike Bull. We travelled to the USA to compete as part of the Ivy League UoB athletics tour which is one of our best experiences during our time at Birmingham".
Noel is now a Strength and Conditioning coach for Arsenal FC Academy, and still stays fit by completing triathlons. James works for Peter Brett Associates as a Senior Environmental Consultant, and has switched sports to play touch rugby. "I play for England and have recently been selected for the World Cup training squad" says James, "I hope to play for my country in Australia next year."
New sports centre for the University of Birmingham
With your support, the University is building a new state-of-the-art sports centre for the University and the wider community. The £55 million centre will have a wide range of facilities, including Birmingham’s only 50m swimming pool. "The new centre will be great for sport at Birmingham and will enable the University to continue to attract high calibre athletes who are looking to study and train" says James. "I look forward to seeing it completed and will be sure to come back to visit".
Find out more about how you can get involved with sport at Birmingham and support the new sports centre on our campus developments pages.