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What It's Really Like To Compete On 'The Amazing Race'

Updated October 13, 2018 12.4k views14 items

Running across the scorching plains of Africa, bolting down the steep steps of Shanghai, and diving straight into synchronized swimming routines with Olympic athletes in Moscow: these are only a few of the challenges teams in The Amazing Race might encounter while competing on the show. While home viewers get the "traveling alongside" view and see all the wild legwork racers do, they never witness what goes on behind the scenes of The Amazing Race.

Competitors and producers leave the show with epic stories about what it's like working on The Amazing Race, exposing secrets the cameras conveniently never catch. The Amazing Race fun facts and personal stories unfold to tell the audience what really happens during those three arduous weeks racers spend on the hit CBS reality competition. The challenges may be fun, inadvertently land competitors behind bars, or result in a person breaking multiple limbs. You just never know how The Amazing Race will unfold.

  • Winners Can Only Go On Their Prize Trips After Their Season Airs

    Photo: CBS

    All winning contestants must sit on their travel prizes until after their season of The Amazing Race airs on TV. The trips, sponsored by hotels and travel agencies like Travelocity, get booked post-season with the help of the sponsoring agency.

    Winners also pay the taxes on their travels, as the prize is considered income. They pay for food and ground travel expenses, as well, since only the hotel and airfare get covered.

  • One Contestant Broke Both Legs While On The Show

    Photo: CBS

    Attacking the environment at full force sometimes comes with a bit of physical backlash. For The Amazing Race contestant Mark "Abba" Abbattista, the race ended with no glitz or glory, but two broken legs. Abbattista broke his first leg running down stairs in Shanghai, China. He broke the second in Bangladesh, where a sidewalk collapsed into a huge monsoon gutter filled with human waste.

    The network never showed visuals of Abbattista's broken limbs, but they definitely played up his limp. Despite the swollen limbs and immense pain, his team still finished a few races. During this time, the only medical treatment Abbattista received appeared in a bonus scene, in which a Turkish doctor gave him a shot in his butt. In fact, Abbattista never knew his legs were broken until he completed his time on the show and returned home to Colorado. 

  • The Cast And Crew Often Eat Together At The End Of Each Race Day

    Photo: CBS

    When the day's races come to a close, both cast and crew need to refuel for the next day's challenge. For the cast, running across the world then going to scavenge for their own meal isn't ideal, so they join the rest of the crew when eating.

    The contestants describe their experience with the crew as "kind of like you’re traveling as a family," as they eat, sleep, and endure environmental challenges together for weeks on end.

  • Production Limits The Cast's Wardrobe

    Photo: CBS

    Since the cast must "expect the unexpected" in their upcoming races, they never receive any clues that might spoil the surprise. This includes what to wear, lest the suggested attire give away what's in store.

    Instead, production tells the cast what not to wear. That includes things like brand logos, which need approval from the production company before being worn on the show.