PSA To Your Inner Child: We Spoke To A Guinness World Record Judge

We Spoke To Guinness World Record Judge Pete Fairbarn

Well ok, your inner youngster wanted to be involved with Guinness World Records by breaking an actual record. Like all other 9-year-olds scrambling to bag the shiny GWR books before your peers did, you dreamed of growing the longest nails or never cutting your hair again or gathering all 5 of your friends and trying to smash the longest human tunnel. If you managed it, you’re my hero, but you probably didn’t.

So then, the next best thing and the job you likely never even realised you could get paid for is being a Guinness World Records adjudicator. Which is exactly what extremely lucky human Pete Fairbairn is and has been for about 2 years and 40 record attempts.

He’s seen everything from a successful 8 meter Worlds Longest Banana Split attempt in the sweltering heat of far North Queensland (yes, he did get to eat it after and no, none of it was wasted) to the Worlds Longest Wheelie in a Monster Truck right here in Sydney (if you want to know how that turned out you’ll have to wait for the new season of Officially Amazing) to the Worlds Biggest Food Truck Rally in Malaysia.

nope, nope, nope, nope.

So how the hell do you get to live out this dream? His background working in radio and doing MC work definitely helped him land the gig, but he says it’s not the only way for aspiring GWR fans.

You need to be comfortable getting on a stage. I’ve been on a stage in front of 20,000 people…So certainly if you’re afraid of public speaking it’s probably not the role for you. Saying that, I think…the role is a diverse mixture of experience or skills so I don’t think there’s a one size fits all of what to study or what to do.

Beware though, working for Guinness World Records is no walk in the park. All record attempts might be different, but any large-scale ones you’re adjudicating could have you working hard for 10 or more hours a day, plus all the travel time to obscure places on a tight schedule.

Some of the levels of planning are phenomenal, like the time I went to the Phillipeans and adjudicated the largest Zumba class.

They needed to get over 12,500 people so there are a lot of really tight rules and regulations around that. After the site inspection I had to sit down with a bunch of people to triple check everything, from guidleines to key timings to contingency plans incase anything goes wrong.

If anything does go wrong, like the torrential rain that came down a few hours before this attempt, there’s a lot of calls to make on the fly.

Then I witnessed how people were being registered and briefed over 500 individual stewards who were my eyes and ears on the ground. This is all before the attempt has even started and it’s already about 5 to 6 hours work.

Then you’re on stage for a quick chat with the MC. While the half hour attempt was going I have to walk around to spot-check and talk to stewards.

When it’s concluded, you’re going through all the paper work and speaking to every single one of those stewards to tally up the final numbers. That’s another 2 hours or so. It’s pretty exhausting.

well, colour me impressed.

But would he ever give it up? Doesn’t sound like it.

I remember when I was a primary school child trying to get to the latest copy of the book before any of my classmates. I even reckon somewhere in a box at my parents’ house I still have a 1984 GWR book that I got from the op shop for about a dollar.

I’ve certainly always been fascinated by records and ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

I know, the very mention of Guinness World Records has got you racking your brain for hidden talents you could turn into a record, amiright? Well turns out, there’s not a lot stopping you from giving it a red hot go.

We’ve got over 50,000 current active records. Not all records need adjudicating so any person who’s reading this can go online, find a record they want to do and attempt it for free in the safety of their own home and send in the evidence. 

If you happen to have a penchant for Vietnamese food, it might be worth hitting up Pete for, seems he has a bit of a weak spot.

My DREAM record is coming up but I wasn’t available. It’s for the largest bowl of Phô in Ho Chi Minh city. Vietnam is my favourite country on the planet and Phô is my favourite food in the world.

If anyone in Vietnam in reading this, I love Banh Mi and Vietnamese Pancakes so if anyone wants to set another largest food item attempt in Vietnam I’m all ears.

i actually just have no words.

Happy record-breaking kids.