Eco-Challenge: The Expedition Race got started in 1995 and aired on TV until 2002. Producer Mark Burnett has now revived the show for Amazon Video, with World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji premiering Friday, August 14.
The 10-episode reality show follows 60+ teams from 30 countries as they race non-stop for 11 days, 24 hours a day in an effort to claim the title and the $100,000 prize. It was filmed in September 2019 and a few spoilers have leaked about how the race ended. Read on to find out who placed in the top 10, but be warned of spoilers.
WARNING: DON’T KEEP READING IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED.
The Winner Is…
By the final few days of the race, there were only about 50 teams competing out of the 66 that started the race 10 days prior. The final race to the finish line for the frontrunners was beset by a near-tragedy where Team New Zealand’s boat capsized and sent all four members into the open ocean in the middle of the night. Luckily, they were able to be rescued by production and were given a replacement boat to see if they could finish the race.
It came down to a nighttime sprint between Team New Zealand and Team Canada Adventure, but in the end, Team New Zealand pulled it out even with the capsized boat — and they won by a sizable margin. It was quite the poetic win since Team New Zealand won the most recent Eco-Challenge race back in 2002 — and Team Captain Nathan Fa’avee was on both teams. He won in 2002 at age 30 and now he’s 47.
The winning team also had Sophie Hart, who left Team New Zealand for a while in 2016 when she was pregnant. This was her first major adventure race with the team since becoming a mom.
The Other Top 10 Finishers
2nd. Team Canada Adventure (Canada)
3rd. Team Gippsland Adventure (Australia)
4th. Team Tiki Tour (New Zealand)
5th. Team Vidaraid Adventure (Brazil)
6th. Team France Expenature (France)
7th. Team Thunderbolt AR (Australia)
8th. Team Swedeforce (Sweden)
9th. Team Czech (Czech Republic)
10th. Team Summit (Spain)
The highest-placing team from the U.S. was Team Bend Racing, which finished in 14th place.
In a pre-show interview, Grylls told Parade magazine that being able to work as a team is the biggest factor in who finishes the race.
“It is not just about the individual. I’ve done a lot of expeditions and adventures over the years and you end up one man or one woman fighting your way through things. … The reminder is that when the teams work and show that humility, vulnerability, kindness, and selflessness to their teammates, you can conquer the world,” said Grylls. “But when it goes wrong, and everyone is tired and making bad decisions, and blaming everyone else, the team becomes such a heavy weight to carry. It becomes work for the team.
“I think people underestimate how important the team element is. I knew that World’s Toughest Race was not going to be won by the toughest or the strongest, it was going to be won by the best team, the one that could work together in those crises and dark, dark moments. And sure enough, that’s how it was and you would never have called it at the start.”
World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fjii is out now on Amazon Video.