MBTAWorldRecord#

On Friday, August 18th, 2017, myself and twitter user @transitalex, set out to set an official record with Guinness World Records to ride each subway and streetcar rail line on the MBTA in the shortest amount of time. This would include the Blue, Green (B, C, D & E Branches), Orange and Red Line with the Mattapan extension. 


On Friday, March 22nd, 2018, I received official confirmation from Guiness World Records that our application and evidence submitted was approved and we were officially Guiness World Record holders!


The Background:

It started at a friend's birthday dinner in 2015. I was chatting with Tim Meagher and the conversation came around to hobbies. As it turned out, that previous summer, he and a friend Brendan Hurley, tackled the entire MBTA subway system to beat out a previous record held by Adham Fisher, a British man who likes to race subway systems across the globe, and Miles Taylor, a Boston local with an passion in the MBTA.
These were not the only people that have ever attempted this before. As far as I am aware, there are two known attempts after Tim and Brandan's attempt and 4  previous attempts. Below are the dates and times of all attempts prior to mine (click to learn more about the person or their attempt).

April 2017
Zack Boone - 7 hours 47 minutes 25 seconds

July 2016
Miles Taylor - 7 hours 43 minutes 46 seconds

August 2014
Tim Meagher & Brandan Hurley - 8 hours 1 minute 22 seconds (article)

November 2013
Adham Fisher & Miles Taylor - 8 hours 5 minutes 16 seconds (article)

2013 (?)
@majadirks - 11 hours 48 minutes

June 2013
( MIT students ) Raphael Dumas, William Chow, Katie Pincus, & Michael Gordon - 12 hours

January 2010
Lain Kaplan & Catty Lee - 7 hrs 15 min (weekend-not all stations open)



I wanted to have that title.

For my attempt, I wanted it as official as possible. Guinness World Records did not have an official record for this so in July 2016, I started the process with them to recognize it. Several months later in January 2017, I was notified that my application was accepted. 

I had previously announced this challenge I was going to undertake, when I first applied to establish a record, and then again when it was approved. Throughout most of that time, I remained silent about it to many people, but behind the scenes, I had already been planning for some time.

GWR sent me a set of guidelines that were specifically designed for this challenge. There was also a 32 page set of overall guidelines to provide sufficient evidence of the attempt. As I started to review everything I was going to need to do, I quickly discovered that there was no way that I was going to be able to document everything I need to do, by myself.

I reached out to one of my Twitter followers (@transitalex) that I had been talking to and asked if he would be interested in tagging along. He agreed.

We met up and started mapping and planning route options and kept the details secret. That was until Thursday, August 10 when we were live on RadioBDC and made the official announcement.
The Challenge:
Ride the MBTA to all the stops on each rail line. That includes the Blue Line, Green Line, Orange Line and Red Line (with the Mattapan Branch) in under 8:00:00 hours!


The Rules:


Below is a simplified version of the basic rules set by Guinness World Records.

1) The timer starts immediately when the doors close on the first train and stops the moment our feet touch the platform of the very last station on the route. There are NO pauses for delays, wait time, transfers or any other break in the ride.

2) Each line does not need to be ridden end to end in a single ride. It can be broken up into sections as needed.


3) Use ONLY public transportation between transfers.


The rest of the rules were for documention and verification to submit to GWR.

The Results:

After 7 hours 29 minutes and 46 seconds, half an hour less than our goal time, we arrived at Wonderland on the Blue Line to set a new record!!

  
The Journey:

Starting at 5:24 in the morning, we departed Alewife after conducting our first interview with CBS. The challenge had begun.

Surprisingly, the day went by quick. With all the documentation we had to do, there wasn't a lot of time to realize we were bored. Between the documentation, we were constantly responding to messages on Twitter from the media and everyone following the challenge. We were also constantly following up on the times and checking to see if we were on schedule and if things were behind, what the new schedule looked like. Shockingly, we didn't experience any major setbacks or delays. There were a few, but nothing that gave us much concern.

Some highlights were the people that came up to us recognizing us from the news and the support we received from the MBTA. They were tracking our progress and displaying it on the screens at various stations across the system. Hearing from someone that recognized us and had been following this for the past few days, that he was happy he ran into us and it made his week, really actually meant a lot to me. All the positive support from people for doing such a weird and crazy thing, felt great!

The final two - three hours of the challenge, I was constantly talking to various reporters via twitter, text messaging and Facebook as they were looking for our progress and opportunities to meet with us along the route. We conducted several interviews during transfers, I conducted a live call in interview with NBC and a few joined us along the route while we chugged along. 

When we arrived on the Blue Line for the final leg of the trip, multiple news stations and newspaper were hoping along the train at various stops along the line looking for our final moments of the journey into Wonderland. 

For me, it was only when we were leaving Beachmont did the reality of this set in and the fact that we were so close to completing this in under 7 and a half hours!! The adrenaline started pumping and we couldn't have been any closer to the doors as the train rolled into Wonderland.

One of the first sites upon our arrival were all the news crews on the platform running to catch the moment we got off the train. It seemed like minutes between when the train stopped and the doors open. We couldn't have gotten off the train and onto the platform any quicker. All the months of preparation had paid off.

It was such a surreal experience and that final 5 minutes is a feeling that I’ll never forget.

  
The Media:

Below are articles and interviews that we conducted the days leading up to the event and during the challenge.










Below are articles and interviews that we conducted when the Guinness World Record became official.

Boston Globe:  It’s official: Pair sets Guinness world record for fastest time traveling to every MBTA station


Boston Magazine:  It’s Official: Two Brave Commuters Set a World Record on the MBTA
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