Watch: Chinese gym teacher races Beijing underground train - and wins

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 December, 2014, 2:25pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 December, 2014, 9:00am

A gym teacher in Beijing beat a subway train to its next stop by running 800 metres in just over two minutes – in a racing stunt inspired by others in Britain and Hong Kong.

Pan Hailong, 26, who is also a professional sprinter, alighted at Nanshilu Station and managed to hop two ticket barriers, climb 203 steps and race to the next station Fuxingmen and bundle back into the same train much to the amazement of passengers.

The distance between the two stations is known to be one of the shortest in the subway system of Beijing.

Pan wore a video camera for a first-person view of his feat, while a small crew took wider shots.

The clip, filmed and produced last month by a team made up by extreme sport enthusiasts, immediately made a splash on mainland social media, garnering more than 1.5 million views.

“[We] chose the journey between Nanlishilu station and Fuxingmen because it is relatively short and has no traffic lights. [We] did it at night so there are fewer passersby, making the challenge safer,” the video’s director, Zhang Lei, told Beijing News.

He said the team drew inspiration from the first “Race the Tube” stunt by Briton James Heptonstall in July.

His chest-pounding 1 minute, 20 second sprint between the London Tube stations of Mansion House and Cannon Street earned not just fellow commuters’ applause but 5.7 million views on YouTube and quickly kick-started a global trend.

Runners took up the challenge in Berlin, Madrid, Copenhagen, Prague and a number of other cities around the world, including Hong Kong.

In September, a Hongkonger ran 450 metres between the Mong Kok station and Prince Edward station on the Tsuen Wan Line to try and catch the same MTR train early in the morning.

He made it in 1 minute and 50 seconds but fell short, reaching the door just a second after it closed. “Hong Kong MTR is fast actually..." the man concluded in the end of the clip. 

Earlier attempts include that of a student in Scotland who tried to race the train in Glasgow in 2005 and another video featuring a sprinter on the Paris metro.