The Subway Challenge, a race to complete the entire journey of 665 miles of track across 472 stations, has been around for years. But as of last week, a new record holder was just confirmed by Guinness World Records, reports Gothamist.
New Yorker-turned-Swiss, Kate Jones, set out on her fourth attempt to break the previous record time of 21 hours, 28 minutes and 14 seconds, held by Matthew Ahn. It wasn’t until nearly a decade after her first attempt that Jones finally broke the record.
On April 17, 2023, Jones made a record time of 22 hours, 14 minutes and 10 seconds. Though it’s around an hour longer than Ahn’s 2016 record, the MTA has since added three new Second Avenue stations on the UES, explained Gothamist.
“I wanted a problem to solve that would be interesting for my brain, but also like something that would get me moving physically,” Jones told Gothamist. It had apparently taken her months to work out how she could complete the challenge with the fastest time and the least amount of repetitions. Let’s not forget, those attempting the challenge also have to factor in MTA delays—a major obstacle, as you could assume.
And though Jones still holds the record, a newcomer had tried to give her a run for her money. Daniel Wells, a resident of Queens, set out to take the title from Jones on Wednesday, May 17th, just a month after it was set.
However, after running into some delays, Wells wasn’t able to surpass Jones’ record. He ended up finishing with a time of 23 hours, 27 minutes and 9 seconds. “In the end, the MTA is gonna MTA, it’s New York, it’s crazy, weird things happen,” Wells said in a statement to Gothamist. “A lot of its just luck.”
When Gothamist spoke to the previous record holder, Ahn said: “I’m glad that folks are still interested in the record! I really believe in the fundamental frivolousness of it, in a good way,” said Ahn. “And I think that’s maximized when there are lots of folks interested in trying to break it.”