We’ve all made that dreaded mad dash across a subway platform to catch a train, but never quite like this: Kate Jones, a New Yorker currently living in Switzerland, is the new world record holder for the fastest trip through New York City’s entire subway system.
Jones’ speedy effort was officially certified by the Guinness World Record last week, completing the daunting challenge—which consists of riding trains to all 472 stations of the NYC subway system, stretching across a whopping 665 miles of track—in 22 hours, 14 minutes and 10 seconds, starting from Far Rockaway at Mott Avenue and finishing at the end of the line on the 7 train.
“It was one of the longest commutes of my life,” Jones joked while appearing on NY1’s “Mornings On 1” with Pat Kiernan on Friday, May 19.
You’re probably asking how they could possibly prove Jones hit every single subway station in all of New York City. Well, “Guinness requires a lot of admin,” the racer explained during her interview with Kiernan. “You have to have a record of every time the doors open and close, you have to write that manually, you have to have a photograph that’s geo-located and time-stamped from all 472 stations, you have to have a log of witnesses who say they saw you on the train at this specific time heading in this direction, and you have to wear a body cam for the entire thing but you only have to submit the footage when you leave the system.”
In terms of planning her route, “A good friend of mine who is a software engineer at Google built me a timetable, a database that would help me do some planning, so I just stared at the map a lot and thought through what could be possible,” Jones said on NY1. “After I found a time that could come close to the previous record holder’s time, I reached out to him, and he gave me some advice on how to stay hydrated and focused for the entire time.”
The previous record holder was Matthew Ahn, who completed the subway challenge back in 2016 in 21 hours, 28 minutes and 14 seconds. Math brains reading this might notice that his time is actually shorter than the one Jones clocked, but there were three extra stations added to the NYC transit system since Ahn broke the record, the Second Avenue Subway stations on the Upper East Side.
It’s not Jones’ first time taking on the subway challenge. In fact, she first attempted the endurance event in 2014 and tried it again the following year. During this most recent try in April 2023, she had a go at it two more times before finally and successfully completing the challenge on her third attempt on April 17.
tl;dr: broke my ankle, broke a record!— FugueKate🏳️🌈 (@FugueKate) May 16, 2023
You’re looking at the current Guinness World Record holder for the fastest time to travel to all New York City Subway stations! 472 stations in 22h14m10s, and I’m the first woman to hold the record in it’s nearly 57 year history. pic.twitter.com/t2qB8cddDW