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

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.

  • As Many As 100 Crew Members Accompany Each Competing Team

    Photo: CBS

    The Amazing Racers travel with more than just their camera crew as they run across the world. A huge production entourage, consisting of the host, creators, and a team of about 100 producers, races alongside each team, bringing the body count for The Amazing Race to as many as 3,000 total members.

    With such a large crew streaking across the planet for weeks on end, time remains of the essence. To prevent production costs from soaring through the roof, everyone involved stays on the move. A huge crew idling around only wastes time and money, so the 23 days of filming need to count.

  • The Show's Host Once Got Locked Up In Ukraine

    Photo: CBS

    During a trip to the Ukraine in Season 10, The Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan ran into a bit of international trouble. He assumed his New Zealand passport would get him through without a visa, but he thought wrong. Immigration detained Keoghan upon arrival and took him to a room where he sat locked up for hours.

    Luckily, an Amazing Race fan worked for the American government. The woman helped set Keoghan up with a passport and got him out with 10 minutes to spare before the first team arrived.

  • The Racers And Crew All Sleep In The Same Hotel

    Photo: CBS

    While running across the world is a daunting, dangerous, and time-consuming task, everyone still needs to sleep. At the end of each stretch of the race, the contestants and crew rest up for the next run, and the next segment of crew and cast take up the baton. The production crew allegedly doesn't always stay in a hotel, which sometimes results in people sleeping on cots, floors, or whatever else is available in the mobile production office. If production does secure a hotel, though, the entire cast and crew share it.

    According to one former racer:

    You wake up, it could be in a hotel, a tent, an airport. Usually, production will supply some sort of breakfast... Sometimes you would stay at world-class hotels, other times we slept in a tent, we slept at the Dhaka airport. If we were in a public place sleeping, people would watch us.

  • The Host Knows About All Contestant Penalties

    Photo: CBS

    When host Phil Keoghan arrives at a pit stop, he spends most of his time texting the production crew to assess each team's penalties. He writes down notes highlighting all the team's mishaps, from taxi cab cheating to taking extended lunch breaks to sightseeing around foreign countries. Keoghan knows everything contestants do and when they do it.

    Even in remote areas, Keoghan knows why a contestant received a penalty. When texts can't be made, phone calls get placed, or the producers come and talk to him directly.