The Amanda Race

The Amanda Race

Challenge number 28 on the Top 30 Countdown dared me to ‘Spend a week’s wage on a night out‘.

That’s my kind of “challenge”!

I umm’d and ahh’d about this one for pretty much the entire year. Should I gamble it all away on a single spin of the roulette wheel? Should I rent a stretch Hummer and drive around Sydney sipping champagne and lording it all over everyone? I even briefly considered an international trip, but thought better of it when I checked out my rather grim looking annual leave balance.

In the end I decided that the best way to blow a week’s wage would be to spend it all celebrating with my closest friends and family – so, last night, that’s exactly what I did!

… but not before running around Sydney dressed in a police outfit inviting strangers to dance ‘Gangnam Style’ for the camera…

Andy and my sister, Claire, spent the better part of the last month organising an ‘Amazing Race’ style challenge for my birthday. The kicker? It was based on this very Top 30 List!

In the end, about 30 challengers met up in Surry Hills to participate in their very own mini version of the Top 30 Countdown! Here’s how it went down (challenges submitted by my family):

Top 30 Challenge Amanda Race Challenge
1 Take it to the next level: Get engaged to me (Andy) Find and buy the largest fake diamond ring as possible, or get a photo of the most expensive ring you can find, showing the price tag.
2 Push your physical limits: Run a half marathon “Challenge details to be announced later in the race.”After the Maccas challenge, all teams must run to The Carrington. All teams get some points. More for 1st to 3rd.
3 Finish what you started: Finish your scuba diving course Take a photo of your team at the Shark hotel on the corner of Liverpool and Pitt St with the awning sign in the frame.
4 Seek adventure: Catch a flight somewhere random at the last minute with just your handbag and a credit card Today is one of the Monorail’s final days of service. Get a photo of your team on the Monorail.
5 Toughen up: Catch, kill and cook an animal of some variety One team member must catch a pigeon somewhere in the city. Get photographic proof of them holding it. Alternatively, find a restaurant that serves squab/pigeon and take a photo of their menu.
6 Play to your strengths: Start a blog Using your knowledge of Amanda and her blog website as a guide, solve the following puzzle…Note: spaces are not included!The first 2 letters of the title of movie ranked 36th.
The 3rd word of a funny movie with a snake variety in its title.
The 18th and 19th letters of the 9th challenge.
The middle 2 letters of the calendar month Amanda was born.
The final 2 letters of the 3rd menu option.
7 Reconnect with nature: Swim with a dolphin Head to the Dolphin Hotel and get a photo of everyone in your team holding a drink with the word “dolphin” in the background.
8 Get a culture injection: Book a trip to India and Nepal Bring to the finish line a travel brochure to India or Nepal.
9 Do something that scares you: Go skydiving Get a photo of one or more members of your team jumping off something with a makeshift parachute (be careful doing this!)
10 Fulfill an old promise: Go to an AFL game Pick up a flag or some form of Swans supporter gear from their homeground, the SFS.
11 Go outside your comfort zone: Swim with sharks Find the emoticon below on your team phone and bring it to the finish line. Can’t find it? Design your own in ascii form 🙂
12 Go a bit feral: Go to a St George Dragons game – Cheering and general hoon behaviour is expected Bring an item of Dragons supporter gear to the finish line.
13 Pump up the adrenalin: Go wakeboarding Get a photo of one of your team members on a skateboard.
14 Make time for new things: Don’t watch TV… at all for 2 months Get a video of the largest TV screen you can find. Note: it must be moving pictures, not a static image.
15 Reconnect with your childhood: Host a homemade McDonald’s dinner party This challenge will be sms’d to the team phones. “All teams must assemble at George St Maccas at 6:20pm for a high value challenge. No-shows or late arrivals cannot take part in the challenge.”We will tell them the challenge rules in person. “One member from each team must eat 4 cheeseburgers in under 10 mins. Extra points awarded for ambitious eaters!”
16 Mix it with the stars: Court-side tickets at Madison Square Garden Get a photo of the best celebrity lookalike you can find (extra points for closest similarity)
17 Volunteer your time: Volunteer at Edgar’s Mission Farm Sanctuary Get a random stranger to dance Gangnam Style for ten seconds and video them.
18 Throw yourself in the deep end: Live and work abroad Get a photo of a team member in front of a tropical destination. A place you’d like to live and work.
19 Try your luck: Compete on a game show Survey Says! Put your answers to the following questions… (Points for correct answers)
20 Reunite with old friends: Share one last weekend with the Canada girls in your twenties Amanda’s birthday coincides with Canada Day! To celebrate this glorious country where Amanda made lifelong friends, memorise and sing the Canadian national anthem and video it
21 Pick up a new skill: Learn to play a musical instrument Get a video of a member in your team singing along with a busker for one song.
22 Enjoy the simple things: Be pushed on a swing Get a video of at least one member in your team being pushed on a swing.
23 Catch up on some light viewing: Watch the 100 greatest movies of all time (according to imdb) Take a photo of a team member at the ‘Event’ cinemas George St with a currently showing movie poster in the shot
24 Achieve a lifelong goal: Write a book Instead of “Write a book”, “Bite a Rook”. There should be a giant chess set in Hyde Park; get a photo of your team there; ideally munching on the rook, or else, if the pieces aren’t there, something else amusing
25 Expand your horizons: Host a dinner party using 3 of your most loved foods and 3 of your most disliked foods Have one team member eat one of each of these: A choc-chip icecream, A bag of rasberry lollies, A donut, An olive, A pickle, A whole lemon. Points will be awarded for each photo showing the items in their mouth.
26 Spend some quality “alohan” time: Spend a weekend alone in silence – no TV, internet, iPhone, etc – to think, reflect, pray, whatever it is you do Find the quietest place you can in Surry Hills where you are most likely to be able to indulge in meditation and bring back a photo of your team meditating in that place.
27 Rough it: Live without a fridge for 7 days Get a photo of your entire team in a phone booth (roughing it without technology), or everyone eating a piece of fruit (messier the better), or a photo of your whole team in front of a grocery (fresh produce) store holding a piece of fruit each.
28 Blow some cash: Spend your entire week’s wage on a night out Instead of blowing your entire week’s wage, win some money by gambling $10 on a horse. Take a photo of the TAB betting slip as proof of winning.
29 Get silly: Participate in a photo shoot on the rocks of a beach dressed as Ariel from ‘The Little Mermaid’ Everyone in your team must do “the mermaid pose” in a photo taken by a random passer-by. It should look like this…(SHOW AMANDA’S MERMAID PHOTO)
30 Do something just for you: Release Do something for yourself by buying and eating a piece of chocolate from Haigh’s in the Strand Arcade on George St. Get photographic proof of the chocolate in your mouth. The messier the better!

I think my personal favourites were 17 and 21, though the pub “detours” were delicious too!

At the end of the night, we met up at the Carrington Hotel where we ate and drank away a week’s wages in style while discussing our achievements of the day and sharing our ridiculous photos (you may recognise a few challengers amongst the bunch!)

After the race I had several friends come up to me and say that they would love to do something like this for their own birthdays. Well, much like the Top 30 List itself, this idea wasn’t exactly an original one on our part and, again much like the List, I encourage you to copy, copy, copy!

We had an absolute blast and I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. Organising an Amazing Race is a lot of work, but my beautiful sister and darling fiancé have done some of that work for you already! I’ve attached the documents they used to organise the race and I welcome you to take it and use whatever you like to create your own memorable, Amazing Race experience:

The Amanda Race

The Amanda Race Challenges

A huge thank you to my friend Kayne for encouraging me to blow a week’s wage on a single night out, and then helping me spend it!

Just one sleep and one challenge left to go… but this totally counts, right?

Black Team Bite a Rook

What did you think of Kayne’s contribution to the list? Let us know in the comments below!

7 responses »

  1. Great day! Had so much fun running around the city like maniacs. 🙂
    Countdown says you have 10 more hours left before you turn into a pumpkin!

  2. Loved running around Sydney acting like a lunatic, Which part of list specified the extra challenge of being drenched in the rain?
    Team Red did very well coming a credible third. But no one could match Green Team’s dedication to the Humble Cheeseburger.!

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