Monday, 2 November 2015

So you want to be a record breaker?

That title, for anyone of a certain age, is much better when sung.

Like this.

I loved Roy Castle and the World Record attempt programme he used to host.

So when Guinness World Records invited us to their Family Blogger Day, it was something we jumped at.  In fact, if there were a world record for the keenest reply to an invite, we’d probably be in their books.

Which is the first thing we started to realise, there are now two versions of the Guinness World Records.

During two very interesting presentations we learned all about the respective versions.

There’s the overall records book that includes feats in all areas of record breaking, and the Gamers Edition, which is dedicated to, errrr, Gamers.

Guinness World Records 2016 and Guinness World Records 2016 Gamer's Edition

Because I’m an idiot not a gamer, it took me a little while to get to grips with this edition.  But once explained to me, I was looking up titles of games I am a little familiar with, like FIFA, and seeing if there were records for things like biggest humiliation by a toddler etc.

My gamer son, Max, was immediately griped and pawing over the 20 pages dedicated to Minecraft records in the Gamer’s Edition of Guinness World Records.

Max checking out the Skylanders records

I was intrigued to learn how you set a record, and it was explained that many requests (about 1,000 per week) come into the GWR offices and ultimately they decide whether any proposed record attempt is worthy, and then set about organising adjudication.

But you don’t have to dream up your own records, for certain pre-existing gaming records, GWR will accept video evidence of them being broken.  These records are clearly set out as well explained challenges in the Gamer’s Edition, and later in the day the children all got a chance to break one of them.

The main Guinness World Records book is just as engaging as it has always been.  As a family of three with vastly different interests, we were all enthusing over different parts of the book.

My wife, Helen, was really interested in the records of objects around the world, like the biggest monuments, and sharing with us the ones she’s seen and still wants to visit.

Wife reading GWR  & distracting the boy with sausages

I was obsessed with the science and sports based records, and spreads like the Hadron Collider section.

The boy loved the athletic records, and – a little more worryingly – a spread about body piercings and tattoos.

It’s interesting that our instinct was to share what we liked with each other.  Telling our own stories linked to the records, or explaining why we thought our favourite records were so impressive.

In a world where information moves so fast, and with so much of it is online, its good to see that tangible still wins out.

Not ignoring this, the Guinness World Records has evolved too.  The books, containing codes, provides access to bonus online material, like videos explaining some of the records in the book and interviews with some of the most interesting record breakers.

We got to meet a few of them during an afternoon of record breaking and demonstrations.

The children got a chance to break world records, like stacking up Lego blocks single-handed, number of front and rear claps and wood block harvesting in Minecraft. 

Guinness World Records, Anna Fulford, explaining the Lego rules to Max
They may sound like daft records, but they were really inspiring activities.  Teaching children that it’s possible for everyone, or almost anyone, to be the best at something.

It simply isn’t just the fastest, tallest or oldest that finds their way into the Guinness World Records.

There were demonstrations from world record-breaking hula hoopers, the UK’s fastest speed stacker and John Farnworth, a freestyle footballer hoping to regain one of his four Guinness World Records.

They were all very impressive.

John must be one of the nicest, happiest men on the planet.  And with his freestyle football skills taking him all over the world, its perhaps easy to understand why he should also hold the record for the world’s biggest smile.

Two Freestyle Footballers with 4 Guinness World Records between them

A brilliantly inspiring example and day.

As for my own bonus material, I filmed John Adams from DadBlogUK taking out the crowd, and my camera, with his Freestyle Football Skills.

The Guinness World Records 2016 and the Guinness World Records 2016 Gamer's Edition are available to order online as well as at most UK supermarkets.