Have You Watched “World’s Toughest Race”?

A few months ago, Amazon Prime started promoting a show created by Survivor producer Mark Burnett and hosted by Bear Grylls set in Fiji. 66 teams from around the world would compete in a race across a huge portion of Fiji as part of an “eco adventure race” to the finish.

The main hook for me–other than the Survivor connection–was that there weren’t a lot of rules. Players has specific routes to finish in specific ways, and they had checkpoints to reach by certain times to avoid elimination, but along the way they can pretty much sleep as much as they want, among other creative liberties.

We just started watching the 10-episode series a few days ago, and I’m completely hooked. It’s fun to watch people navigate the beautiful landscape of Fiji, and the human-level stories told along the way have brought us to tears (and to the edges of our seat) a number of times.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is that there are two levels of drama on the show: One is, of course, the teams racing to finish first. The other is to simply make it to each cutoff in time, which is quite dramatic for the teams in the back.

If you like Survivor or the Amazing Race, I’d highly recommend this show. Have you watched it? What do you think? Would you ever do something like this? It’s far too intense for me to want to try it–that’s not what a vacation looks like to me!

7 thoughts on “Have You Watched “World’s Toughest Race”?”

  1. I have watched it! I got interested when they did a cross-promotion with Tough Mudder, the obstacle course race that I do every year. I liked the scenery and challenges, although I had some big issues with the editing that became more glaring near the end.

    I did think that I would want to do a smaller adventure race though, one that isn’t as grueling. Maybe a 24-hour race instead of 5 days. Are you saying I shouldn’t invite you to join me team? 😀

    • Ryan: Do they edit it to make teams seem closer than they really are? I’ve kind of noticed that with the team in the lead–I don’t think there’s any chance that other teams will catch them, but they’ve edited it to seem like a few teams are just seconds away.

      I’m impressed that you’d give a race like this a try! It’s definitely not for me. 🙂

      • They do edit to enhance the drama, but that doesn’t bother me. My issue is that for each leg of the course, first we see it when the fast teams go through, then we see it again when the medium teams go through, then we see it AGAIN when the slower teams go through. So a lot of the landscape and challenges are repeated so often they lose their impact. I think this could largely have been avoided if it was an 8-episode season instead of 10. The final episode felt anticlimactic to me. “Playing out the string,” in a way.

  2. I have been getting my Survivor fix on YT…there is an official Survivor channel, and I have been watching two seasons from South Africa. It is awesome! There are some new twists including Champions, which has star soccer players leading each tribe and competing against each other for goodies for their tribe. Plus other interesting stuff I have never seen on regular Survivor.

    Also, man, these players play a bit dirty! There has been all sorts of nonsense, I do not want to say what and spoil it, but nonsense abounds. And epic blindsides of course, and a great host named Nico who I am growing to love! And of course players with strong personalities and a desire to win!

    I had been meaning to mention it to you actually, cause you are such a fan. I was SHOCKED there was no series this fall, SHOCKED. And very sad. SA has filled the Survivor shaped hole. There are also a couple other nations, I forget which, Australia maybe? I think maybe 4 or 5 seasons on YT.

    I am not able to access the show you name, but it sure sounds good!

    • Thank you for sharing this, Candy! I didn’t know about this version of Survivor (though I’ve also heard the Australian version is great). I’ll have to check it out!

  3. I just finished this a few days ago, mostly because I saw Mark Burnett was associated, and I’m a huge survivor fan. I actually wasn’t really expecting to enjoy it that much, but figured it was worth a few minutes. Pretty quickly, I was hooked! I really enjoyed the whole thing, especially how they bounced back and forth between the top teams and the bottom teams (I hesitate to call them bottom teams, because even they were exceptional athletes).

    I probably wouldn’t be interested in a second season, but I really enjoyed this one.


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