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Kate Jones has set a new Guinness World Record for completing the New York City Subway Challenge in 22 hours 14 minutes and 10 seconds, beating the previous record of 21 hours and 28 minutes set by Matthew Ahn in 2016. Jones spent months planning how to get to each station as efficiently as possible after recovering from an ankle injury that saw her have two bars, two plates and 10 screws put in. Fellow New Yorker, Daniel Wells, recently completed the challenge, albeit in a slower time of 23 hours 27 minutes and 9 seconds.
How much can you go around all the New York subway stations: a woman recently set a record
The New York City Subway has 472 stations spread over 665 miles (1,070 km) of track. For decades, public transport enthusiasts have fought to set the record for the fastest travel. And this day has come – a new record hit the Guinness Book of Records. The Gothamist edition told in more detail.
Kate Jones, a New Yorker now living in Switzerland, set a new record in April. She completed the journey in 22 hours 14 minutes and 10 seconds. Recently, her result was listed in the Guinness Book of Records.
“I wanted to solve a problem that would be interesting to my brain, and also do something that would make me move physically,” Jones, 43, explained her impulse.
She said she spent months figuring out how to get to each station with the fewest repetitions and the fastest transfer.
Her time was slightly longer than previous record holder Matthew Ahn, who completed the so-called Subway Challenge in 21 hours 28 minutes and 14 seconds in 2016. But that was before the MTA opened three new subway stations along Second Avenue on the Upper East Side.
Jones’ record run was not her first attempt. She tried it in 2014, then again a year later.
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But after Jones broke her ankle while rock climbing in August 2022, she said she wanted to try again. As April approached, Jones still had two bars, two plates and 10 screws in her ankle, but she said the record was her motivation.
She returned to New York to compete and her first two attempts were unsuccessful. According to her, the third attempt was promising, but at the 20th hour she made a mistake when she accidentally got on a train going in the wrong direction. Due to late night work, there was no way she could catch up in a reasonable amount of time.
Jones was ready to quit after that, but a friend told her to try one last time. She waited until next Monday to try again.
And everything worked out. Jones did not even use OMNY – she paid with a MetroCard.
She set the record on April 17, celebrated it with dumplings in Flushing, and flew back to Switzerland 14 hours later.
But before the ink on her record-breaking certificate had dried, a new challenger stepped into the ring.
29-year-old Queens resident Daniel Wells tried to break the record.
Wells began his journey at 1:00 am on Far Rockaway Mott Avenue on Line A, the same place where Jones began his journey. And, like Jones, he planned to end his route at the end of Line 7 in Flushing.
Wells’ evening began on a losing streak – his A train was due to leave at 1:00 am but was more than 10 minutes late.
“After all, this is New York, this is crazy, strange things happen,” Wells said. “A lot of it is just luck.”
Wells later attempted to travel from Ozone Park-Lefferts Boulevard station to take the A train at Rockaway Boulevard station, located almost a mile away. He thought it would save him 20 minutes, but the haste didn’t help.
Wells made it to the Bronx in seven hours, back to Lower Manhattan, and back to the Bronx via Midtown.
By that time, he had only traveled about a quarter of the subway. He ended up covering the entire route in 23 hours, 27 minutes and 9 seconds, over an hour behind Jones’ record.
Unlike Jones, Wells is not ready to try more than once: he does not have enough free time for several attempts.
Ahn, a former record holder, is happy to hear that more people are taking on the challenge.
“Glad people are still interested in the record. I really believe in the fundamental frivolity of this, in a good way,” Ahn emphasized. “I think it’s great when there are a lot of people interested in trying to beat him.”
In the short term, Jones’ record is safe as some stations will be temporarily closed this summer due to construction work. But there’s hope for enthusiasts looking to break the record: The MTA is installing state-of-the-art traffic lights on subway lines across the city to speed up trains.
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