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Englishman Seeks To Reclaim Record Time For Riding ‘L’ System

CTA Train (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

CTA Train (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — A Leicester, England, man is looking to reclaim the record time for riding the whole CTA ‘L’ system, after three other teams broke the record this year alone, according to a published report.

Adham Fisher, 27, set a record time for riding the ‘L’ in March of last year. He raced around all 143 stations in 9 hours, 36 minutes and 33 seconds, and was written up in Time Out Chicago. He was awarded with an honorary ‘L’ sign with his name on it by CTA President Forrest Claypool.

But the record didn’t stand for very long. Danny Resner, 23, an editor for the Cricket children’s magazine, was joined by John Greenfield, a writer for the New City and Grid Chicago, in an effort to beat Fisher’s time. They succeeded, coming in at 9 hours, 30 minutes and 59 seconds this past Feb. 3.

Another duo, Scott Presslak and Kevin Olsta, set a new record on April 6, coming in at 9 hours, 24 minutes and 5 seconds, Greenfield reported in the New City this week.

And on April 11, yet another new record was set by Ben Downey and Rob Bielaski of Chicago. They came in at 9 hours, 8 minutes and 56 seconds.

Upon setting the new record, Downey said he thought the record-holder should be a Chicagoan, not someone from overseas.

“It’s funny – there’s a British guy who does this stuff?” Downey told WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser earlier this month. “Does Chicago have no pride, like, isn’t the CTA cool enough for Chicagoans?”

But now, the tenacious non-Chicagoan who the set the record last year is back in town, and the New City’s Greenefield reports Fisher has been planning to reclaim the record. He was to make solo attempts to set a new ‘L’ travel time record on Thursday and Friday, Greenfield reported.

In the time since he set the old record, Fisher has also set a record for riding the Toronto subway, hitting 69 stations in 2 hours, 46 minutes and 1 second, Greenfield reported. But he fell 19 minutes short in an effort to ride the whole New York City subway system, riding through all 468 stations in 23 hours, 11 minutes and 24 seconds, Greenfield reported.

Meanwhile, Fisher has been getting celebrity treatment among Chicago transit geeks. Greenfield says on Tuesday, Fisher put on a living sod sports jacket by artist Joe Baldwin and joined Miss Earth Illinois Nikki Huber to canvass the ‘L’ promoting Baldwin’s latest sculpture show.

On Saturday, Fisher is set to appear at an event to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first ‘L’ train run to the Linden Avenue Purple Line terminal in Wilmette. The service was introduced in April 1912 by the Northwestern Elevated Railroad.

After Chicago Transit Authority President Forrest Claypool’s speech Saturday, Fisher has invited all the teams that beat his record for a friendly ‘L’ riding race, Greenfield reported. They will leave together from Linden, but branch off in different directions soon afterward, according to Greenfield.

“Since a handful of Loop stations will be closed for weekend track reconstruction, we won’t be vying for a new record, but it will be interesting to see how the different teams fare on a level playing field,” Greenfield wrote.

After the race, Greenfield says he and all the record-setters will head to the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., for a staging of “EL Stories,” a play featuring real stories from CTA commuters. “EL Stories” is onstage at the Greenhouse every Saturday at 11 p.m.