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Andy James (left) and Adham Fisher (right). Photo by Alley Lyles for Untapped Cities.

Many who are unfamiliar with an urban past time called the Rapid Transit Challenge may be surprised to discover that six men from Great Britain have just broken an incredible Guinness World Record for riding the entire NYC subway system in the shortest time. 22 hours, 26 minutes, and 2 seconds is how long it took Glen Bryant, Adham Fisher, Martin Hazel, Andi James, Peter Smyth and Steve Wilson to traverse the entire subway system. They are the first non-American to secure the record, which was just confirmed by Guinness World Records six months after they originally set the record last November.

NYC Subway Guiness World Record-Adham Fisher, Martin Hazel, Peter Smyth, Glen Bryant(from left) Adham Fisher, Martin Hazel, Peter Smyth, Glen Bryant, four of the six men who won a Guinness World Record for NYC’s Subway Challenge.

We had a chance to catch up with members Adham Fisher and Andy James in 2012, when they first attempted to break the Subway Challenge record. Adham says that London inspired him to start riding though “New York is massive and difficult compared to London.” The pair had also held records in other subway systems including ChicagoBoston, and Toronto. Remarkably, Andi, Martin and Steve are also former record holders for London’s Subway Challenge, which makes them the first people ever to hold the record on both sides of the Atlantic.

Their success was due in no small part to a unique app called Kickmap, which combines NYC’s street-level topography with its underground geography to provide the best possible subway commute. In addition, the team also rode the Staten Island Railway in true completist fashion. They plan to unveil their certificates in London in the next few weeks. Visit this website to keep up with team member Adham Fisher’s rapid transit exploits including ChicagoBoston, and Toronto.

If you were curious about the rules of the world records, there are a few categories. The rules were set forth by the Amateur New York Subway Riding Committee in 1966 by Peter Samson as part of an artificial intelligence experiment. A Class A designation requires you to cover all lines without exiting the system, but to be recognized as a record breaker in the Guinness Book of World Records, the objective of the subway ride is stop at all train spots (no express trains). This is considered a “Class B” categorization and for the Guinness title, riders are permitted to exit and enter on a new fare. Read more about how the Rapid Transit Challenge actually works.

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