Subway Vs. The Post: Reporter Nolan Hicks attempts to beat the W train on foot — and the results

They’re going your way — even running local!

In a man vs. machine challenge, The Post’s own Nolan Hicks laced up his cross-trainers Monday to take on a formidable opponent: a NYC subway train.

The idea was inspired by a viral TikTok challenge in which two pals tried — and failed — to outpace on foot a local 1 train between 18th Street and 14th Street stops in Chelsea.

Although their effort was unsuccessful, the 46-second clip racked up millions of views on the social platform.

As The Post’s resident subway expert, Hicks used his extensive knowledge of the system to his advantage in choosing his rail-bound opponent for his attempt to race.

Even though he’s a fairly regular runner — typically averaging around 8-8:30 per mile, he says — a human beating a machine in any physical competition is a tall order, so he attempted to use physics to even the odds a bit.

After some consideration, Hicks decided to take on the W, which uses some of the MTA’s oldest and slowest trains: the optimal competitor for the challenge.

He also picked a portion of the track that has a couple of tight turns requiring low speeds, attempting to eke out any advantage.

Whitehall and City Hall

The first heat saw Hicks attempt to beat the W while traversing the roughly one mile and three stops between Whitehall and City Hall.

The chosen route included some tricky obstacles to navigate as he pounded the pavement.

The Whitehall station is deep underground since it’s the last stop before the R goes under the East River and into Brooklyn.

Re-emerging from underground required Hicks to vault up a flight of stairs, then make a mad dash up an escalator to the mezzanine, where he was met with even more stairs before reaching the street level.

From there, huffing and puffing, Hicks beat a path up the (surprisingly) steep hill to Wall Street, where he hit a wall, taking a brief rest by the charging bull statue to ease some runners cramps.

After catching his breath, Hicks took off northward at full speed, dodging tourists and cars while weaving between bike lanes and standstill city traffic, doing his very best to keep ahead of his indefatigable 40-ton opponent chugging along on the rails below.

His Apple Watch clocked his time at 7:28, even with the cramp. The MTA’s train tracker shows the W train, on average, can make the same trip in about four minutes.

Hicks was beaten badly, absolutely gassed, and slightly nauseated.

Cortlandt to Rector Streets

Undeterred, Hicks steeled himself for his second attempt, an all-out quarter-mile sprint mirroring the 1 train race featured in the viral TikTok.

The race started on Cortlandt Street. Hicks legged it out of the station from the exit near the bottom end of the platform, pumping his arms as he threw his body against the heavy bomb-proof doors that separated him from the Westfield complex.

From there, he bounded up the stairs onto Trinity Place and took off down the street at full speed.

As he ran down the first set of stairs he found heading into Rector Street station, he saw the train had already pulled in. But he wasn’t beaten yet. Summoning every ounce of speed he could muster, he bolted along the platform trying to make it to the front of the train before it pulled out again.

But it wasn’t meant to be. The doors shut, and the W train handed Hicks a hard-fought loss.

Asked to weigh in on the tradition, MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan couldn’t resist throwing a little shade at city traffic.

“The question isn’t whether 0.00001% of humans can occasionally outrun the subway between two nearby stations, the real question is why they can always outrun heavily congested central business district traffic.”

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