- Julie Jacobson /AP
Last week, a full-time pharmacist and a Formula One employee set out to break the Guinness World Record for fastest New York City subway riding. Yes, such a thing exists, and no, it has nothing to do with running from one end of a moving train to the other while shouting, “Check out my speed relative to the earth, nerds!” To break the 22:52:36 record, Adham Fisher and Andy James had to traverse all of New York City’s subway stops, and express trains were forbidden. They didn’t end up breaking the record (shy by 18 minutes), but that won’t stop them from pursuing subway riding records in other cities, like Toronto and Chicago.
It turns out that speedy subway riding has existed as an underground pastime for nearly half a century. In 1966, an MIT student named Peter Samson of the Amateur New York Subway Riding Committee set up the rules as part of an experiment in artificial intelligence. The NYC Subway Rapid Transit Challenge holds itself to the standard of a single fare (meaning no leaving and re-entering through the turnstiles) and has three classes of possible achievement.
Huh. Waiting for the F train must be even more excruciating than usual under these circumstances. But for the record, subway riding isn’t even the strangest speed test out there: In 2010, a Brit named Perry Watkins set the record for “fastest furniture,” riding a full dining set on a race track at 114 miles per hour.