Bear Grylls Amazon Prime show on ‘world’s toughest race’ in Fiji


Newly released images from an upcoming TV show offer a taste of what the ‘world’s toughest race’ involves.

‘Eco-Challenge’, a brutal ‘expedition race’, saw 66 teams from 30 countries race non-stop for 11 days, 24 hours a day, across 671 kilometres (416 miles) of rugged Fijian terrain. One participant says that for four days of it, he only managed to get four hours’ sleep.

The action has been captured by Amazon Prime Video series The World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji, with stills from it showing competitors performing jaw-dropping rappels down waterfalls and rafting down raging rivers. And host Bear Grylls (inevitably) hanging out of a helicopter.

Amazon Prime Video series The World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji, hosted by Bear Grylls (pictured), documents 66 teams from 30 countries racing non-stop for 11 days across rugged Fijian terrain

Grylls, left, said: 'This is an expedition with a stopwatch, is how I always kind of see this, and just to complete it is a huge achievement'

Grylls, left, said: ‘This is an expedition with a stopwatch, is how I always kind of see this, and just to complete it is a huge achievement’

Another shot shows a worn-out competitor pushing their bike up a steep muddy trail amid lush prehistoric-like foliage.

The ten-episode series tells the story of the event, in which the teams paddled, biked, rappelled, climbed, and hiked across ocean waters, over mountains and through jungles and swamps.

It total, there were 330 competitors with all of the teams made up of four competitors vying for a $100,000 cash prize. The race kicked off on September 5, 2019, with temperatures averaging a sweaty 28 degrees Celsius.

Competitors rappel down a waterfall during the Eco-Challenge event, which took place last September

Competitors rappel down a waterfall during the Eco-Challenge event, which took place last September

Teams paddled, biked, rappelled, climbed, and hiked across ocean waters, over mountains and through jungles

Teams paddled, biked, rappelled, climbed, and hiked across ocean waters, over mountains and through jungles

A show statement said: 'People from all walks of life and every corner of the globe join together to overcome the most incredible obstacles'

A show statement said: ‘People from all walks of life and every corner of the globe join together to overcome the most incredible obstacles’

A statement for the upcoming series says that ‘viewers worldwide will see the limits of human physical and mental endurance tested like never before’.

It adds: ‘At its core, World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji is about perseverance.

‘People from all walks of life and every corner of the globe join together to overcome the most incredible obstacles. The challenges lie both within the course itself, and competitors’ equally daunting personal struggles, which are only magnified by the demands of the expedition.’

'I unashamedly wept at times, seeing the effort and what it meant to these people,' said Grylls

‘I unashamedly wept at times, seeing the effort and what it meant to these people,’ said Grylls

One competitor said that taking part in the race was 'the closest we get to being superheroes'

One competitor said that taking part in the race was ‘the closest we get to being superheroes’

Extreme: Grylls stresses that the event is 'not a normal adventure race'

Extreme: Grylls stresses that the event is ‘not a normal adventure race’

One participant says that for four days of it, he only managed to get four hours' sleep

One participant says that for four days of it, he only managed to get four hours’ sleep

The show is a chance to see a different side to Fiji, which is typically associated with honeymooners and hammocks

The show is a chance to see a different side to Fiji, which is typically associated with honeymooners and hammocks

Grylls revealed that it was difficult to see racers drop out after spending so much time and energy in preparation.

He said: ‘But at the same time, those that endured, whether or not they won, it wasn’t really about the winning. This is an expedition with a stopwatch, is how I always kind of see this, and just to complete it is a huge achievement.

‘I unashamedly wept at times, seeing the effort and what it meant to these people.’

The adventure race series Eco-Challenge was created for television back in in 1992 by Mark Burnett, the same producer behind the reality show Survivor

The adventure race series Eco-Challenge was created for television back in in 1992 by Mark Burnett, the same producer behind the reality show Survivor

'The challenges lie both within the course itself, and competitors' equally daunting personal struggles, which are only magnified by the demands of the expedition,' a show statement said

‘The challenges lie both within the course itself, and competitors’ equally daunting personal struggles, which are only magnified by the demands of the expedition,’ a show statement said

The World's Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji will be available exclusively via the Prime Video app from August 14

The World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji will be available exclusively via the Prime Video app from August 14

Grylls noted the field's diversity, including the first fully African American team competing internationally. Another American squad includes Mark Macy, a past Eco-Challenge competitor who has since been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and his son, Travis

Grylls noted the field’s diversity, including the first fully African American team competing internationally. Another American squad includes Mark Macy, a past Eco-Challenge competitor who has since been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and his son, Travis

Grylls noted the field’s diversity, including the first fully African American team competing internationally. Another American squad includes Mark Macy, a past Eco-Challenge competitor who has since been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and his son, Travis. 

‘That was a very emotional journey for them to race together, for the son to want to be alongside his dad,’ Grylls said. 

Joji Tamani, a guide from the outdoor company Talanoa Treks in Fiji, told MailOnline Travel that he helped with logistics on the race and that he’s happy to see how adventure tourism is growing in the country, which is traditionally associated with honeymooners and hammocks.

He mused: ‘I think there is more interest now in tourists considering Fiji as a hiking destination.

‘Hopefully, the screening of the World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji will create more interest in Fiji’s adventurous side.

‘I also hope that many locals tap into adventure tourism. I feel there is so much that can be offered by native communities.’

The adventure race series Eco-Challenge was created for television back in in 1992 by Mark Burnett, the same producer behind the reality show Survivor.

It visited destinations including Utah, Australia, Argentina and Morocco with the last race, before the relaunch, taking place in Fiji in 2002.

  • The World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji will be available exclusively via the Prime Video app from August 14 at amazon.com/primevideo in more than 200 countries and territories. Watch the teaser trailer here.



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