The second official Zone 1 Challenge took place on Friday the 20th of May 2005 and, as we predicted, it attracted a record number of entries (well, it wasn't going to be hard to improve on last time, was it?)
The teams gathered outside Oxford Circus station in the late morning and were joined by none other than Jack Welsby who very kindly organised the official drawing of the starting station from the hat. After a few moments of tension Jack duly pulled out "St James's Park" as the start station, and after a quick group photo everyone piled onto the tube and made their way south.
With an official start time of 1pm, there was about half an hour to go between everyone arriving at St. James's Park and actually going anywhere so everybody settled themselves down to plan their routes. Several people also made a long walk down the road for the toilet; they obviously haven't adopted the Geoff and Neil system of empty water bottles yet. (We understand that the tube wasn't quiet enough for Neil to avail himself of his bottle and he had to hold it in until the pub).
Jack set everyone off in both directions, including a couple of latecomers and a somewhat confused Steve Paull who managed to get his route wrong within one station of the start and returned to St James's Park for another go! How the mighty have fallen. With the exception of people running into each other on their way round the system, the next time everyone met was in the Horse and Groom on Great Portland Street from 4pm onwards. The early arrivals were confident that they had scored good times and Jack was on hand to take a note of each time and make a list in readiness for the grand announcement of the winner.
So who WAS the winner? And where did the rest come? Well, I'll tell you (in descending order and with hilarious team names, or not, in brackets):
18. Chris Presswell and Andrew Toynbee (King's Cross-Dressing Pancreas) - 3 hours, 57 minutes, 58 seconds
So, well done to Hakan and Patrick who came all the way from Lund, Sweden to win the challenge. But it was very close at the top with only 33 seconds covering the top three. The winners received their trophy and it was only then that they revealed they had walked most of it! So if you were concerned about not being able to run it this year, Hakan and Patrick are the proof that it's your route which counts more than your speed - you have no excuse for not coming next time!
There is currently a slightly more detailed (and more graphically-overloaded) write up on Geoff's website. Eventually, everyone's route will appear here ONCE EVERYONE SENDS THEM TO EITHER MYSELF OR GEOFF (hint). I will also be posting further pictures in the next few days so keep checking back.