Steve Quinlan is going to try to get his name in the Guinness Book for a speed record… on the SkyTrain.
Quinlan, an addictions counsellor from Maple Ridge, is originally from Manchester, and is going to create a Lower Mainland version of London’s Tube Challenge. That competition is a longstanding race for the fastest time to travel to all London Underground stations. It has been tracked by Guinness since 1960. There are 270 stations, and the record is 15 hours, 45 minutes and 38 seconds.
Other cities such as New York now have similar challenges, and Quinlan wants to bring a version of that to Vancouver. After six months, he’s got Guinness to agree that if he can get to every SkyTrain station in under three hours, they will list it as a record.
He chose to make the attempt on May 4 – Star Wars Day to fans of the franchise.
“It’s the whole ‘May the fourth be with you,’” Quinlan explained. “Why not do something really nerdy on a really nerdy day.”
He will be part of an entourage of seven people. Guinness insists he bring along a timer with experience timing (he chose a soccer referee), two independent witnesses, a videographer, a photographer to shoot every station, and a “Tweeter” who will keep the whole attempt before the public on social media.
He has official Guinness hats, vests and lanyards the seven of them can wear during the attempt.
He has done six trial runs, hitting all 53 Skytrain stations, and believes if everything goes right he will be successful in setting the record.
“I’ve always had a childhood dream about being a world record holder, and this is quite attainable.”
That said, he hopes others will try to better his mark as soon as he sets it.
“Records are made to be broken.”
People who have travelled with him as he tours the entire system say it is actually enjoyable.
“It’s a lot more fun than you first think.”
And it is for a good cause. Quinlan works for Alouette Addictions, and the agency runs an elementary substance literacy program in conjunction with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District.
The program was launched four years ago, and has steadily expanded with over 150 sessions being held this year. It provides opportunities for students to understand the complex ways in which drugs impact the mental health, physical health and well being of individuals, communities and societies. The program is 100 per cent funded by donations.
He is taking donations for the program through the website fastestskytrain.ca
TransLink officials originally chided him about running through their stations, but Quinlan assured them there will be none of that. He simply needs photos of each station as evidence, but many times he will not have to leave the train.
“We wish Mr. Quinlan the best of luck with his challenge. It sounds like a fun way to raise money and bring some attention to SkyTrain – the longest fully-automated, driverless rapid transit system in the world,” said Chris Bryan, TransLink spokesperson.