Read part one of Max's tracking challenge here.
Instant paranoia sets in and as soon as I emerge from the alleyway to a quiet housing estate I begin suspecting everyone I see to be part of the tracking team. My paranoia isn’t helped by the fact I’ve instantly forgotten the faces of the guys after me, despite having been around A4 size mugshots of them all for the last 45mins or so.
I continue at a brisk pace and even find myself hopping over a fence to be able to cut through a car park. Feeling a bit ridiculous, I turn round to see if anyone is wondering just what the hell I’m doing. A man catches my eye from the opposite end of the car park, swiftly turns round and starts raising a phone to his ear. I have no idea if he’s even part of the challenge, but I bolt.
My first checkpoint is in The City, which I only have a rough idea of how to get to, let alone finding the specific street. McGee told me how people evading capture use the sun to tell where they are along with any notable landmarks, natural or otherwise. With grey clouds filling the skies and tall buildings all around me, that’s not an option and after a few minutes speedily zigzagging my way towards where I think The City is I pass a building twice, coming to the realisation that I’m already hopelessly lost.
Though I’ll get points deducted for speaking to any members of the public I decide that’s my only option if I ever want to find my first checkpoint. If it’s a toss up between not completing the challenge or having points deducted it’s clear which one to go for. Besides, I’ve been going at a fair pace so surely there’s no way anyone’s watching me now.
A delivery driver – thoroughly bemused by my explanation of what I’m doing – doesn’t know where the road I’m looking for is, but sends me in the right direction. Five minutes later I start seeing The City’s elaborate coat of arms plastered over bins and lampposts and know I’m in the right area. A quick glance at a tourist map gets me to the right street where I need to find an animal and make a note of it to prove I was there. The clue is a picture of Noah’s Ark, but I fail to register what this could mean as soon as I spy a huge sign that reads Red Herring. ‘How clever,’ I think to myself.
Exiting the street I start to doubt whether that’s actually the right answer. After all, it has no relevance to the clue. I double back on myself to walk down the whole road to look for any other animal-related things I can see. I don’t spy any animals, but there is a suspicious looking guy standing by the entrance to a park. He clocks me. I stand still. He stands still. We’re literally having a stand-off.
There’s a chance this could just be some random dude, but I’m not taking it. I casually turn round and walk to the nearest street, breaking into a run as soon as I round the corner. A quick glance back confirms he’s on my tail, but as I approach a set of traffic lights the lights go amber and I dash across just before they change leaving him stuck on the other side of a busy road. Never have I been so thankful for London’s impenetrable traffic.
The next check point is London Bridge, which should be easy to find. The real problem is going to be not getting spotted in such an open space…
Next Thursday: The final part of Max's Manhunt Challenge
Manhunt is on Discovery Channel on Thursdays at 9pm. Click here to read our interview with the star of Manhunt, Joel Lambert.
Max was the head of digital content for Men's Fitness which worked alongside Coach between 2015 and 2019.
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