Jonny Davies at the finish line of his "Run The Line" ultramarathon challenge. Credit: Jerry Sun

Man v Tube: rugby player ran the entire London Underground for charity

A former rugby player ran the entire London Underground in 11 days last week in aid of a suicide prevention charity.

Jonny Davies, a 31-year-old from Balham, ran one of the 11 tube lines above ground every day, amassing 572 km, the equivalent of 13 marathons, over the course of the challenge.

In the process, Davies has raised over £22,000 for the charity CALM (Campaigning Against Living Miserably).

The atmosphere in parts of London over the weekend was electric, with several hundred supporters cheering Davies on as he crossed the finish line at Oxford Circus, concluding the “Run the Line” challenge with the 92km Central line on Sunday evening, leaving the longest line until last.

Davies’ impact on the running community has been immense, with almost 300 runners rallying at the break of dawn to join him as he ran the Waterloo & City line on Saturday.

Following that penultimate run, Davies said: “The team and I made sure to make the challenge the hardest it could be by making sure the long days were uphill and mapping it out so that I ran past every single station.

“So many people said I’d break after a day or two. But guess what? It’s day ten and I’m still here and smiling.”

NOT GOING UNDERGROUND: Jonny Davies at the finish line. Credit: Jerry Sun

James Stringer, 24, added: “Today is testament to the influence Jonny’s had and will continue to.

“The number of people who have sacrificed their Saturday morning for him, well if that doesn’t speak impact I don’t know what does.”

Davies defies the stereotype of a runner, standing at 6ft 4in and weighing 100kg.

A former rugby player for Wimbledon Rugby, Davies only started running four years ago during a tumultuous period in his life, marked by stress, grief and heartache.

“When I started out doing it, I wasn’t very good at it,” he said.

“I’m not built like a typical distance runner as I’m quite a big lad. I like the fact it’s hard and it doesn’t come naturally to me. Even just running 3k, I don’t find that particularly easy. It’s never easy.”

For Davies, running provides a means of healing that traditional methods cannot replicate.

“Therapy comes in many different forms and I’ve found it in running,” he said.

The profound impact running has had on Davies drove him to share his experiences on TikTok, where he has accumulated 168,000 followers.

Davies said: “I’m just trying to be the person I needed when I was in a bad place. No matter how down you are, you can always find a way through whatever it is you need to overcome.”

@jdrunsfar Day 11 of running the entire @Transport for London Underground for @CALM – The Central Line 92km #running #tun #runner ♬ original sound – Jonny Davies

The idea of the “Run the Line” ultra-marathon was born out of Davies’ conviction that a lot of London was left out of the running scene.

The “Run the Line” challenge required relentless grit and determination from Davies as it involved a record-breaking heat wave, running through some of the busiest streets in London, nursing blistered feet and injured legs.

Davies attributed his success to the unwavering support of his team and dedicated followers.

His physiotherapist, Adrian, was by his side from 5am until late into the night.

Inspired individuals travelled from near and far, with one fan flying over from Dublin in the morning to run the Metropolitan line with Davies and returning home that same evening.

Supporters ran through the Heathrow tunnel with Davies, joined him in the back ends of the Metropolitan line in Buckinghamshire and trundled over the Millennium Bridge to blaring hype anthems.

Inspired fans described Jonny’s energy as infectious.

Gabriel McGuigan, 25, said: “We have been so inspired that we are planning on running the whole tube line in 2024, but maybe not in 11 days.”

To support his cause and contribute to CALM, you can visit Davies’ JustGiving page here.

Featured image credit: Jerry Sun

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