Amazon Prime Video announced today that over 60 teams from 30 countries will be competing in World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji. The series is hosted and executive produced by Bear Grylls (Man vs. Wild, Running Wild), and from executive producers Lisa Hennessy (Eco-Challenge, The Biggest Loser), Eric Van Wagenen (Survivor, The Amazing Race, The Apprentice), and Emmy Award-winning producer Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Voice, Shark Tank).
Renowned as epic, gritty and unpredictable, the race will take place in Fiji this fall. The human drama, produced by MGM Television, will be captured in a 10-episode series to premiere worldwide on Amazon Prime Video in 2020.
World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji is the ultimate expedition race in which teams will race non-stop, 24 hours a day, across hundreds of miles of rugged backcountry terrain complete with mountains, jungles and oceans. Each race team is comprised of four competitors, including at least one member of the opposite sex, and one assistant crewmember that will be helping their team from base camp. Each team will race under a single country flag while making their way through some of the most impenetrable terrain Fiji has to offer.
The race will encompass a variety of non-motorized forms of transportation and other various challenges including outrigger paddling, mountain biking, rappelling, climbing, whitewater rafting, paddle boarding, and canyoneering, which teams must pass assessment tests in. Navigation must be done with a map and compass only and teams will be required to use expedition problem-solving skills in their quest to the finish line. If any team member quits or is unable to complete the race, the entire team will be disqualified. Only teams that can work together under extreme stress and fatigue have any hope of reaching the finish.
“Challenging oneself in the outdoors is as relevant today as it was 25 years ago when Eco-Challenge began. It’s the ultimate test of human spirit, teamwork and honoring our planet,” said Mark Burnett, Chairman, Worldwide Television Group MGM. “I can’t wait to see the drama unfold as these teams test themselves beyond what they ever thought possible.”
“The Fiji course is truly epic. It’s incredibly demanding and will force our competitors far out of their comfort zone as they race against themselves, their competitors and the fiercest elements of mother-nature,” said Executive Producer and Host Bear Grylls. “Only the teams that work together can ever hope of making it to the finish line.”
Executive Producer Lisa Hennessy, who has worked alongside Mark Burnett on all eight prior Eco-Challenge races from 1995 through to 2002 adds, “The race in Fiji is the biggest and most exciting Eco-Challenge production to date. The course is a staggering 417 miles (672Kms) with a record 330 + athletes participating. We also have a record 35 camera crews capturing the action, in addition to drone and state-of-the-art handheld gyro cameras that will film in areas previously impossible to reach. We’ll be filming in 4K HDR, ensuring that the series is unparalleled in quality.”
“The backstories of the athletes are what will be truly inspiring,” said Van Wagenen “Not everyone will win – or even finish the race, but following them throughout this grueling competition and sharing their triumphs and setbacks along the way will make very compelling television.”
“As a global platform, we’re excited to be telling stories of perseverance and triumph as these teams face the challenges that the World’s Toughest Race: Eco Challenge Fiji has to offer,” said Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Mark Burnett, Bear Grylls, Lisa Hennessey, Eric Van Wagenen and the entire creative team who all have a love for this race and will be helping to tell these teams’ powerful and inspiring stories for our Amazon Prime Video customers.”
Some of the highlights of the teams participating include: Team Khukuri Warriors, which includes 28 year-old sisters from India who are racing for gender equality. These sisters are also the first set of twins and South Asians to complete the Explorers Grand Slam (7 Summits, North & South Pole); a team of veteran racers who competed in all nine seasons of Eco-Challenge, now returning as grandparents; an American Eagle Scout team and a team of Scouts from Australia; a team of Wounded Warriors who served in the U.S. Armed Forces; the world’s youngest expedition racer to compete in the Adventure Racing World Series at the age of 17, who holds three world records; a team of Ironman athletes including “The Iron Cowboy” who gained notoriety for completing 50 Ironmans in 50 states in 50 days.
Teams are racing to raise awareness to a variety of causes, including but not limited to: breast cancer, military veterans, equal pay, and Alzheimer’s disease.