A LIGHTNING tour of Europe ended with a Leeds man breaking the world record for the number of countries visited in 24-hours using only planes, trains and buses, with just minutes to spare.
Adam Leyton, 39, from Horsforth, was forced to run the final 4km of his journey in order to make it into his 12th country before the end of his 24-hour deadline.
He also needed to make sure he set foot in every country, meaning he had to hop on and off a train to ensure all 12 were ticked off.
The previous world record, set in 1993, saw 11 countries hit in 24 hours, and now Mr Leyton is waiting for Guinness World Records to verify his achievement.
Beginning in at 7.01am in Perl, in Germany close to the border with Luxembourg on May 25, the dad-of-three, passed through Luxembourg, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary before crossing the border into Austria.
The final stretch of his journey, crossing from Hungary into Austria, saw him make a mad 4km dash through the Hungarian and Austrian the border in order to complete the challenge in time.
Mr Leyton strategically chose the small German town of Perl as it lies just over the river from Schengen in Luxembourg, the town where the agreement for passport-free travel in Europe was signed.
He said: “I started in Perl as it is just over the river from Schengen and with the EU referendum coming up I thought it was a good place to start and I wanted to see as much of Europe I could in one day before the referendum.”
The internet entrepreneur managed to get off to a rapid start to his quest to break the world record, hitting four countries in just 74 minutes, having hit France and Belgium in quick succession after his trip to Luxembourg.
He then flew to Amsterdam where he took a connecting flight to Copenhagen, before crossing the Øresund Bridge that connects the Danish capital with Malmo in Sweden.
A hop back to Copenhagen before a flight to Warsaw saw Mr Leyton reach Warsaw just after 8pm.
Mr Leyton only managed to grab two hours sleep during the epic trip, catching forty winks on a night train between Warsaw, Poland and Bratislava, Slovakia.
He said: “I had a couchette for the night and had the adrenaline not being pumping then I would probably have got a good night’s sleep but I was just worried that I wouldn’t wake up in the Czech Republic.”
Having safely navigated the Czech Republic Mr Leyton reached Bratislava at around 5.45am and took the bus to the Hungarian border, which he reached at 6.38am, leaving him with just 23 minutes to cover the 2km to the Austria border.
He successfully reached the Szobor sculpture park, where Austria meets Slovakia and Hungary with just seven minutes to spare.
Mr Leyton, who is married to Miranda, 41, and is dad to Amber, seven, Josh, six, and Theo, four, said: “When I got there I was absolutely elated. I had tears in my eyes as it was something I had been thinking about for months.
“I spent about an hour and a half at the sculpture park, calling my wife, kids and my mum.
“My world was spinning I was that tired, I thought I knew what being tired was all about with three kids under eight, but I was wrong.”
Mr Leyton first came up with the idea after spotting a similar story about three men who broke the world record for the most countries visited in a single day by car in February 2015.
But it wasn’t until January this year did he start thinking about planning routes.
By March he had come up with a viable route that would allow him to break the world record.
He said: “When I spotted Malmo was only 10 minutes from Copenhagen by train it all came into place and this was the moment I thought it was possible.
“I originally wanted to do it on June 23 - the date of the EU referendum - but because train timetables in Europe change on June 10 I had to bring it forward to make sure I could plan it properly.”
While Mr Leyton booked as much of his trip in advance as he could his world record bid almost ran into trouble as some of his attempts to buy tickets on the ground proved more difficult than he anticipated.
He said: “I went to a shop in Luxembourg and asked for a train ticket for the next day and was sold a mobile phone top up card. My GCSE French was obviously a bit rubbish.”
Mr Leyton came up with the idea in an effort to raise money for Sands, a charity which offers support to people affected by the death of a baby before, during, or shortly after birth.
His sister Gemma, 31, lost her baby daughter Tilly Rose just five days before she was due to be born.
Mr Leyton added: “With the EU referendum on June 23, it seemed the perfect time to see how much of Europe I could see in a day. I’m delighted to have raised more than £900 for Sands and would love to get that over the £1,000 mark.
“The support Sands gave to my sister and her family was incredible. This was my way of saying thank you to them.”
To find out more about Mr Leyton’s trip and to donate visit http://www.12in24.co.uk/