The Tube Challenge is a competition for the fastest time to travel to all the stations on the London Underground.

It has long been recognized as a Guinness World Record and is even more of a challenge now that new stations have opened since the record was originally set.

So what made 16-year-old Eitan Okrent and his friends Micha Winchester and Gabriel Oldknow decide to give it a go?

Eitan explains: “I’ve always had a weird fascination with the tube map and then I found out about the challenge. The three of us thought it would be fun to do and if we broke the record it would be cool.

Eitan, Micha and Gabriel study their progress on the tube to Heathrow“We decided to ask for sponsors in order to raise money for Homeless Action in Barnet.

“All three of us live in the borough and we are all concerned about homelessness – we are aware of people sleeping on the streets when we are walking to school and out and about in London. We felt it was an important cause.”

Eitan spent three months poring over tube train timetables and planning the best route.

“On the day itself – Saturday December 10th – he got up at 3am to meet his friends and take a cab to Chesham station at the end of the Metropolitan line.

“The driver said he didn’t even know there was a tube station there,” he recalls.

The trio caught the first tube just after 5am. It was a long day. A friend, Asher Nardi Flenner, joined them part way along to take photos. Other friends met them underground, bringing food and drink.

Keen football fan Eitan hadn’t realized that England would be playing France in the World Cup. Unable to follow the match on his phone underground, he was only able to tell how the game was going by the body language of other passengers.

He had chosen to wear his Spurs scarf. After the game a total stranger told him: “Harry Kane was terrible.”

The friends reached Heathrow Terminal 5 just after midnight.

Eitan says: “There are 272 stations and we’d managed to visit 264. After 18 hours we were nearly at Heathrow but then part of the District line was closed because of an emergency. So we didn’t break any records but we are pretty happy with what we’ve done.

“And best of all we raised £1,500 for HAB, so it was really worthwhile.”