Report on Amazing Race 2011: Manchester Edition

by Nur Salihah Sarah Shamsuddin

On 30th April 2011, UKEC successfully organised the Amazing Race 2011: Manchester Edition. Despite being held during the examination season, the greatly anticipated event managed to attract the participation of 70 enthusiastic students from all over the United Kingdom.

Following a briefing session at the University of Manchester Student Union Building at 9am, the race was then officiated by Farquar Haqqani, the Chairman of UKEC. There were 13 teams of five that were colour-sorted to indicate the different routes allocated to them.

The first checkpoint was located in the Manchester BBC Building, where participants were asked to conduct three video interviews with passers-by about Malaysia. It was heart-warming to see the participation of the locals, and the teams also came up with very interesting videos. With the clue given by the Checkpoint Manager, teams made their way to the Manchester city centre, where one of the largest Chinatowns in the United Kingdom is located. This next stop challenged the participants to an “art hunt”, where one member from each team was allowed to enter an art gallery to identify a specified piece of artwork within a set period of time.

Then, the participants’ artistic skills and creativity were put to test at the next checkpoint – the Manchester Craft and Design Centre. Using the materials provided, teams were instructed to design a t-shirt with the theme “Tourism Malaysia”. The team with the best design then wins a checkpoint prize. Following that, at the fourth checkpoint, teams were required to take three photographs with the locals with one of the team members wearing the t-shirt they designed previously. The teams attracted the attention of a lot of onlookers as there was a huge crowd at the Manchester Eye, which was not surprising since it was a warm Saturday afternoon.

The teams then made their way to the National Football Museum located at Urbis. At the museum, they were asked to solve a puzzle by rearranging shredded pieces of paper to form emblems of several Malaysian states. It was quite a challenge as not all participants were familiar with the emblems. Also, to add on to its difficulty, only teams that managed to answer a quiz posted by the Checkpoint Manager correctly were given coloured puzzles, while others received only black-and-white puzzles of the emblems.

The participants then had to solve an interesting word puzzle to reveal the destination of the next checkpoint – Piccadilly Gardens. At the Piccadilly Gardens located in the city centre of Manchester, teams had to squeeze lemons with buttered palms, and pour the juice into a balloon before blowing it until it bursts. It was a rather entertaining challenge, and all participants enjoyed it. After that, they were required to answer three questions and teams that had at least two correct answers immediately received the next clue, while the others experienced a five-minute penalty before receiving the clue.

With the given clue, teams then took a free bus ride to the next checkpoint which was located outside the city centre. A major tourist spot in Manchester, the 7th checkpoint – the Old Trafford football stadium boasts home to the Manchester United Football Club. At this stop, participants of the Amazing Race had to rearrange alphabets that make up the name of a footballer. Then, they had to search for the specified name on a wall that had over a hundred of names printed on it.

The next checkpoint was located in the Trafford Centre, a large shopping mall. The first task was to search for the anonymous Checkpoint Manager. Then, participants had to look for goods in the shopping mall based on the instructions and hints provided. Next, the final checkpoint tested the participants’ athletic skills as they were required to take a few swings at the driving range – each team had to hit five balls into the sand bunker.

The first team touched down at the final checkpoint located at Salford Quay at 3.45pm, marking the end of the race. It took another forty-five minutes before all teams reached the embankment. Cash prizes were given to the best three teams based on the points collected. The winning team received £200 cash, while five groups also received checkpoint prizes based on their outstanding performance at the respective checkpoints. All prizes were presented by His Excellency Datuk Zakaria Sulong, the High Commissioner of the Malaysian Embassy who graced the event with his presence.