The Amazing Race

The Amazing Race

"The Amazing Race", sometimes referred to as TAR, is a reality television game show in which teams of two people (with one exception), who have some form of a preexisting personal relationship, race around the world in competition with other teams. Contestants strive to arrive first at "pit stops" at the end of each leg of the race to win prizes and avoid coming in last, which carries the possibility of elimination or a significant disadvantage in the following leg.Contestants travel to and within multiple countries in a variety of transportation modes, including planes, taxis, rental cars, trains, buses and boats. The clues in each leg point the teams to the next destination or direct them to perform a task, either together or by a single member. These challenges are related in some manner to the country or culture where they are located. Teams are progressively eliminated until three teams are left; at that point, the team that arrives first in the final leg is awarded a large cash grand prize, usually one million U.S. dollars.

Created by Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster, the original series has aired in the United States since 2001 and has earned seven Primetime Emmy Awards, including all six "Outstanding Reality-Competition Program" awards that have been given. Emmy-award-winning New Zealand television personality Phil Keoghan has been the popular host of the show since its inception. Hollywood mega-producer Jerry Bruckheimer has been TAR's main producer. The show has branched out to include a number of international versions following a similar format.

The Race

:"Unless otherwise indicated, the seasons refer to the American version of the series, hosted by Phil Keoghan."


Each of the eleven or twelve teams (10 on the first to third Asian edition) on "The Amazing Race" is composed of two individuals who have some type of relationship to each other. The exception in the series so far has been Season 8, which was a family edition of the race that featured teams of four.

The teams represent a wide demographic of different ages, races, sexual orientations, and relationships. Relationships have included long-time married couples, siblings (including twins), parent/child, friends (roommates, fraternity brothers, platonic friends, high school friends, lifelong friends etc.), romantic partners (both heterosexual and homosexual), and couples who are separated or were formerly dating.

The various relationship dynamics between the team members under the stress of competition is one focus of the show. Teammates must race the entire race together: they cannot split up (except when instructed to do so by a clue, albeit temporarily) or continue on without each other. If one teammate becomes injured and is unable to finish the race, the team must forfeit (for example, Marshall & Lance during Season 5). Both teammates must also arrive at each Pit Stop together in order to check in. [TAR FAQ: Basic Rules. [ What happens if both members of Team A step onto the mat after one member of Team B, but before the other member?] Retrieved on June 19, 2007.]

Many aspects of the production - casting, promos, premieres, and Phil's discussions with eliminated teams - make heavy emphasis upon the effects of the race on relationships.

Length and Exclusivity

Originally, the race required team members to have a preexisting relationship and to have known one another for at least three years. In addition, racers from different teams could not have previous acquaintances with one another. This provided preexisting intra-team relationships to film and broadcast, without complications of preexisting inter-team relationships.

However, the producers have eliminated these rules for more recent races. For example: Kris & Jon from Season 6 were long-distance daters for only one year, while several contestants from Season 5 had previously competed against one another in the beauty pageant circuit. (Nicole actually beat Christie for the title of Miss Texas USA in 2003.) [Lilley, Jason. " [ Girly Stuff] ", TashiTagg, 2004. Retrieved on January 15, 2007.] The team of Eric & Danielle from Season 11's All-Stars edition had only met each other one year earlier when they had been on opposing teams during Season 9. Finally, the "Application Procedure and Eligibility Requirements" document for Season 14 (available as of May 5, 2008 at contains no restrictions regarding pre-exising relationships.

Generally, however, teams members have had long personal histories, and only with each other.


At the beginning of each leg of the race, each team receives an allowance of cash with their first clue. During the race, all expenses (food, transportation, lodging, attraction admission, supplies) must be purchased from this allowance. The exception to this is the purchase of airline tickets (and, in Season 8, gasoline), which the teams pay for using a credit card supplied to them by the show. [ [ The Amazing Race 5 FAQ] ] Any money left over after a leg of the race can be used on subsequent legs. While previous seasons have allowed teams to use the credit card for phone and online reservations, teams in Season 12 could only use the credit card to pay for tickets in person, though they are not prevented from determining optimal flights by other means.

This money is usually given in U.S. Dollars regardless of the current location of the race. The one exception was leg four of Season 10 in Vietnam, where money was given in local currency. The amount varies from leg to leg, ranging from no money to hundreds of dollars. (In Season 1, 10, and 12, teams were allocated zero dollars during one of the legs, and in Season 4, teams were given only one dollar for each of the final two legs.) On Leg 3 (Mongolia-Vietnam) of Season 10, teams had to earn their money for that leg by selling flowers in the Roadblock.

From Season 5 to Season 9, teams were penalized for finishing last on a non-elimination leg. Teams were forced to surrender all collected money, and would not be given any to start the subsequent leg.

If a team spends all of their money or has it taken away in a non-elimination round, they may try to get more money in any way that doesn't violate the local laws. This includes borrowing money from other teams, begging from locals or selling their possessions. One rule that was clarified in Season 7 is that teams may not beg for money at United States airports. Further, on Leg 3 (Mongolia-Vietnam) of Season 10, teams were not permitted to beg for or sell items in exchange for money.

Teams have reported on the existence of an emergency fund of approximately US$200 that is carried by their crew and can only be used in extreme circumstances, but generally not as a means to pay for any activity related to the Race. However, the exact amount is not known, nor are the exact circumstances when it can be used.

Route markers

Route Markers are the flags that mark the places where teams must go. Most Route Markers are attached to the boxes that contain clue envelopes, but some may mark the place where the teams must go in order to complete tasks.

Route Markers are always colored yellow and red, with the following exceptions:

* The original Route Markers used in Season 1 were colored yellow and white. The current colors (with red added) were adopted in subsequent seasons so that the teams would have an easier time spotting them.
* During Season 3, the production visited Vietnam; while there, the flags used were a solid yellow, to avoid confusion with the former flag of South Vietnam, [cite episode |title = Don't Try to Play the Moralist Now!|url =|series=The Amazing Race|serieslink = The Amazing Race (U.S. TV series)|network=CBS|airdate = 2002-12-11|season = 3|number = 10] which differs from the current flag of Vietnam. The flag of the former South Vietnam is used as the flag of some expatriate Vietnamese communities in the United States, [Associated Press. " [ Vietnamese activists push for old flag] ",, May 23, 2003. Retrieved on January 15, 2007.] and is something of a holdover from the Vietnam War. It is a potentially politically volatile subject, and the producers avoided unintended comparison by using the solid yellow color scheme with no red striping. In Season 10 when the show visited Vietnam, the flags were yellow and white.
* Season 8's Route Markers were colored yellow, white, and black.


Route Information

Route Info clues instruct the teams where to go next. The clue usually only provides the name of the team's next destination; it is up to the teams to figure out how to get there. However, the clue may make specifications about how the teams have to travel. For example, the very first clue of the race specifies which flights teams may take. In addition, teams may be required to take public transportation, drive a marked car or other vehicle, or walk, according to the clue's instructions.

The Route Info clues can instruct teams to go to several types of locations, including a specific location in another city or country, another location within the team's present city, the Pit Stop of the leg, or the Finish Line of the race.

In the first season, the clue box contained exactly the same number of clues as teams racing, so a team was able to guess how many teams were behind them. In subsequent seasons, the clue box has included a variable number of clues (placed by spotters near each clue box just prior to racers arriving at the box) so that a team usually cannot determine its present standing by counting the remaining clues. Unless instructed, teams are not allowed to take more than one clue from a given clue box and are penalized for doing so.

Each Route Info clue is placed in a letter-sized yellow envelope with a tear strip (coining the phrase "rip 'n read" for the process of opening the clue and reading it). The Route Info itself is printed on a vertical half of standard letter-size paper, and placed in a vertical-fold folder contained in the envelope. Additional printed instructions for the task, which are generally not made aware to the viewer, are also contained in this folder. Teams are generally required to keep all Route Info envelopes, folders, and papers throughout the leg, surrendering them at the next Pit Stop. Some of the clues may require teams to take a number or time for priority and may cause fights in the race, eg. Season 6, at Budapest, a couple of teams fought over number 1 and resulted in the stand being toppled by many teams.


A Detour presents the team with a decision between two tasks, "each with its own pros and cons", as described by host Keoghan. Teams are given several details about both tasks, but may need to travel a short distance by foot or car to the different task locations. One task is typically less physically demanding but is tedious or requires some amount of time or thinking to complete, while the other is usually a more physically demanding or frightening option that, depending on the team's ability, may take less time to complete. The decision on which task to attempt lies solely with the team. A team may choose to switch tasks as many times as they wish with no penalty other than the time lost in attempting the tasks and traveling between task locations. Because of this freedom to choose between tasks, the penalty for not completing "either" task is significant (see Penalties and time credits).

In the first three seasons, a Detour preceded a Roadblock in every leg. In more recent seasons, however, the order in which these tasks have occurred has varied with each leg. Although there has been little change to the Detour format over twelve seasons, the only unique Detour arrangement thus far has been the first Detour in Season 5, where failure to complete one option (based solely on luck at gambling) required the team to complete the second, more physical task.

A Detour has been in every leg in every race but once, which came in Season 12's opening leg.


The U-Turn, introduced in Season 12, is similar in format to the Yield; however, it is always placed immediately after a Detour. When there was going to be a U-Turn, the teams would find the message "Caution, U-Turn Ahead" in their clue. The penalty differs from the Yield in that the affected team loses no specific amount of time, but instead they must complete the Detour task which they did not just previously complete (hence, they must complete both detours). In implementation, it is quite similar to the Yield, having a large sign where the team choosing to apply the penalty places a large picture of the affected team, above a smaller picture of themselves; as well, no team may use the U-Turn more than once in the full Race. In its debut season, it was indicated there would be a total of two U-Turns through the entire race. It is possible for a team to use their U-Turn power against a team that has already passed the U-Turn marker, effectively wasting it, as no team pictures are removed from the U-Turn marker, preventing a team to determine their placement in the leg. Similar to the Yield, teams that lose their "Courtesy Of" picture during the course of the Race lose their power to use the U-Turn. [cite web | url = | title = Exclusive: Donald Jerousek, Nicolas Fulks dish on 'The Amazing Race' | publisher = Reality TV World | first = Christopher | last = Rocchio | date = 2008-01-23 | accessdate = 2008-01-23] Unlike the Yield, there are no priority numbers to take out should two or more teams want to U-Turn a team. This caused somewhat of a confusion in Season 12, when Kynt & Vyxsin, at the time in 4th place, tried to U-Turn Nicolas & Donald, a team that was actually ahead of them, instead of the only team behind them, Nathan & Jennifer.


A Roadblock is a task that only one team member may perform. Before heading into a Roadblock, teams read a vague clue about the task to come, e.g., "Who's really hungry?" (for an exotic food-eating challenge), or "Who wants to get down and dirty?" (for a very muddy task). Often, a team may figure out the specific task by observing their surroundings, using common sense, or even seeing other teams already performing the Roadblock task. They then must decide which team member would be best suited to complete it. Once a choice has been made, the teammates cannot switch roles. For the first three seasons of the race, Roadblocks came after a Detour in every leg.

Unless the clue indicates otherwise, the other teammate(s) cannot assist in the task though they may verbally offer advice and encouragement, usually standing in a designated area off to the side. In a select few Roadblocks, the team member that did not opt to do it may be required to participate; for example, in Season 1, one Roadblock required the selected team member to ride a camel, while the other team member was forced to walk along aside it to the next clue box. A similar arrangement occurred in the final Roadblock in Season 10, where while the selected member sky dived out of a plane, the other member was treated to a surprise nosedive of the plane itself after the start of the sky dive. The participating team members from other teams are able to help each other, however, unless otherwise indicated by the clue.

A Roadblock is featured (although, in some episodes, not aired) in every leg except the first one. In Season 1, even the first leg had a Roadblock, but it was not originally aired; it was, however, included as an extra in the DVD release. Season 10 became the first season to have and air a Roadblock on Leg 1. Season 12 also had a Roadblock on Leg 1.

Beginning in Season 6, each team member may complete a maximum of only "six" Roadblocks throughout the "entire race". [cite episode |title = I'm Not His Wife – He Doesn't Need to Scream at Me|url =|series=The Amazing Race|serieslink = The Amazing Race (U.S. TV series)|network=CBS|airdate = 2004-11-23|season = 6|number = 2] Since there are normally twelve Roadblocks in the Race, this rule forces each team to split the Roadblocks equally between the two members (unless a team uses a Fast Forward to skip one Roadblock, in which case the split can be 6-5, if they somehow manage to get two Fast Forwards like Danny and Oswald did in Season 11, the split can possibly be 6-4). In contrast, Season 5's final three teams featured three male-female teams that split the Roadblocks 9-1 or 8-1 (not including unaired Roadblocks), with the male member of the team taking the load; many speculate that it was for this reason that the six-Roadblock rule was introduced in Season 6. The six-Roadblock limit was dropped for only Season 8; additionally, that season's four-member-team format required some Roadblocks to be completed by two people. Season 10 had 13 Roadblocks; therefore, the maximum for each team member was increased to seven. While this Roadblock rule has not been specifically mentioned in some later seasons, team behavior and statements (such as Danielle in All-Stars commenting that "Every Road Block that is designed for a guy, I am doing.") imply that it still applies.

Fast Forward

The Fast Forward allows the team that receives it to skip all remaining tasks on that leg of the race and proceed directly to the Pit Stop. To receive the Fast Forward, the team must be the first team to perform and complete the task described on the Fast Forward clue. The clue is found along with a regular clue at one of the Route Markers.

In one case during Season 7, where teams are grabbing a marker for priority for the very first Fast Forward award, up to 11 markers were visible, meaning that teams should be aware as to who's still in the race or not.

Only one team may use each Fast Forward. Any team that is beaten to the Fast Forward will have wasted their time and must go back and pick up where they left off. Also, prior to Season 10, each team was allowed to use only one Fast Forward during the whole race, requiring teams to decide when it was most advantageous to use it. With the introduction of the Intersection route marker ("see below") in Season 10, a team can claim two Fast Forwards in a single race, one while part of a grouped team during an Intersection, and another as a single team.

Originally, Fast Forwards were offered in every leg of the race (provided that there was as least one team left that had not used one), except for the final two legs. Starting in Season 5, the number of Fast Forwards was reduced to two on the entire race. In the event a Fast Forward was not attempted by any team on a leg, the task involved was not shown, though clue envelopes with the green Fast Forward marker can usually be spotted by the viewers.

A Fast Forward usually results in the team arriving at the Pit Stop first, but does not guarantee it. In the history of the show, two teams who earned a Fast Forward still arrived last at the Pit Stop. In Season 1, Joe & Bill won the Fast Forward but still arrived last (but were not eliminated due to a penalty received by Nancy & Emily). After winning the Fast Forward on Leg 3 (Mexico-United Kingdom) of Season 3, Dennis & Andrew were still eliminated due to their late arrival into England. Similarly, NFL wives Monica and Sheree of Season 4 earned the Fast Forward but only placed 4th in the first leg (behind a three-way tie for first). On Leg 8 of Season 10, Tyler & James and Rob & Kimberly both won the Fast Forward as a result of the Intersection, the first time two teams have ever won the Fast Forward on the same leg. They, however, arrived second and third respectively behind Dustin & Kandice, becoming only the second and third teams ever to place neither first nor last after winning a Fast Forward. Chip & Kim of Season 5, Freddy & Kendra of Season 6, Eric and Danielle of Season 11, the Linz siblings of Season 8, and TK and Rachel of Season 12 are the only teams to have won the entire Race without using a Fast Forward.


The Yield, which was introduced in Season 5, allows any one team to force another team to stop racing for a predetermined amount of time. From Season 6 onwards, when there was going to be a Yield, the teams would find the message "Caution, Yield Ahead" in their clue, similar to the U-turn. To yield an opponent, a team places the picture of the team they wish to yield onto the Yield sign (found near one of the Route Markers). When the yielded team arrives at the Yield mat, they must turn over an hourglass found on the Yield sign and wait for all the sand to drain before they can continue racing. It is suggested that this generally takes around 30 minutes. Each team gets an envelope with their 'courtesy of' sticker at the start of the race (which goes on the bottom-right corner of the Yield sign), and if a team's envelope goes missing, that team loses all power of using any future Yields. [cite web |url=|title=BJ & Tyler Interview - Reality TV Podcast #53 - June 7th, 2006|accessdate=2008-02-12|date=2006-06-07|publisher=Reality TV Podcast|quote= ] Teams like Linda & Karen (Season 5) and Joseph & Monica (Season 9) could not use the Yield, since they had each lost their envelope throughout the course of their respective Races. [cite web |url=|title=Linda and Karen Threw Their Yield Away|accessdate=2007-01-16|last=Denhart|first=Andy|date=2004-10-01|work=Reality Blurred|quote= ]

Each team is required to stop at the Yield station, and state aloud whether or not they were yielded by another team, and (if the Yield wasn't already played) whether or not they choose to yield any of the teams behind them. In the early use of the Yield, teams were required to remove a numbered marker as well when they performed this act, likely for the purpose of deciding team priority in the event of a dispute (like the numbered tags at some Roadblocks and other tasks where teams could only proceed one at a time). The Yield sticker only shows the teams picture and their names, so teams can't use the yield power twice by using their Yield and U-Turn stickers. It is possible for a team to use their Yield power against a team that has already passed the Yield marker or an eliminated team, effectively wasting it, as no team pictures are removed from the Yield marker. This is evident in Season 6 where Freddy and Kendra were going through the team stickers and saw Avi and Joe's sticker (an eliminated team) to search for Adam and Rebecca's sticker.

In Season 5, when the Yield was first introduced, the sign was larger than in the subsequent series of the Yield. Teams weren't aware from the clues whether or not there was a Yield ahead. In addition, the teams didn't have to pull a number for priority, only when two or more teams were fighting to choose whether to yield a team or not. This happened only once, when Chip and Kim grabbed a number to reserve the option of yielding Kami and Karli, whom Chip and Kim knew were fast approaching. However, when they realized they were the last two teams, rules changed so that all teams were aware of their positions.

Like the U-turn, each team may use only one Yield during the game, and only one team may use each Yield. However, a team may be yielded multiple times by various other teams. From Season 6 to Season 8, the number of Yields totaled three in the entire race, instead of one on every leg. However; in Leg 5 or 6 of Season 7, Lynn and Alex had their 'courtesy of sticker in their lap as if there was a yield ahead. Also, says that there's one yield on each leg of the race. So, it's unknown if there were any unaired yields that were used. Like with Fast Forwards, Yields that are present in the race, but aren't used and have no effect on the outcome, may not be aired or mentioned. For example, Season 8 mentioned only having two Yields available on the entire race, but a third Yield on Leg 1 (New York-Pennsylvania) went unaired and unmentioned. In season 9, the show mentioned only two yields as well, but Lisa & Joni said at one point in Leg 1(Sao Paulo, Brazil) "Can we still yield anyone?" so it's possible that was an unused; unaired yield in Leg 1. In Season 10, despite saying that there are two Yields in the entire race, only one of them was aired and was used. In , only two Yields were present in the entire race. Season 12 was the first not to have any Yields since introduced and is replaced by the U-Turn.


The Intersection, introduced in Season 10, requires each team to pair up with one other team and perform all tasks and make decisions together until further notice. Should there be no other teams present when a given team arrives at the Intersection route marker, they must wait there until another team arrives, though they do not have to partner with that team and can opt to wait for another team instead. Teams are free to choose their partner team if multiple teams are present. In both occasions that it has been present, it has also included a Fast Forward, which is allowed to be claimed by one full group of two teams working together, regardless if either team has already claimed their Fast Forward; furthermore, teams that claim a Fast Forward during an Intersection are free to claim a non-Intersected Fast Forward if one is available after that point. It is not yet known what the rules are when an Intersection appears in conjunction with a Yield, Roadblock, Speed Bump, or the U-Turn. Alternatively, the teams were given a usual Detour choice selection with its introduction.

Race legs

Leg Structure

Each leg of "The Amazing Race" normally consists of an initial route marker, typically instructing the team to travel to a different location, and then a series of 2 or more route markers, including one Detour and one Roadblock, at that new location, with a final route marker directing the teams to the check-in mat at the Pit Stop. Teams are required to complete each task in order. Otherwise, teams are free to use any waiting time (due to travel or hours of operation) as they desire within the scope of the Race rules. However, all activities (food, drink, transportation, and lodging) must be paid for using only the accumulated money they have been given through the Race. Teams will commonly sleep outdoors in front of a task location that is closed until the next day unless the production team has provided sleeping arrangements for the teams.

The Check-in Mat

When teams arrive at the Pit Stop, all members must all step on the check-in mat — the official finish line for that leg — in front of Keoghan and a local greeter that represents the country they are presently in (except in Season 1 where Keoghan only greeted the last team to arrive). In Season 1, check-in mats for Pit Stops were representative of local cultures. In Season 2 and Season 3, they were black with a yellow and red border. Beginning in Season 4, they would feature an ornately decorated world map. The only time in which this mat was not used (other than in Season 8) was in Season 6's leg 8 (France - Ethiopia), which had a woven mat symbolic of a local culture. In Season 8 the mats were black with a yellow and white border. The finish line mats are an elevated red carpet with The Amazing Race logo enlarged on it.

If the team has incurred any penalties or failed to complete a task, Keoghan will tell the team their arrival position (e.g. "You're the third team to arrive") but instead of checking them in will ask the team to step off and wait out the penalty, or that they need to return to the missed task. Otherwise, Keoghan will inform the team of their status as "Team Number --". The last team to be checked in at the Pit Stop is eliminated, barring any penalties, or unless that leg of the race is one of the predetermined non-elimination legs. These eliminations themselves have now earned the name "Philimination" in the Amazing Race fan community, a portmanteau of the host's name and the word "elimination".

Prior to Season 5, multiple teams were allowed to arrive at the mat at the same time, creating a tie, and allowing them to leave the mat at the same time for the next leg. After the 3-way tie in the Leg 1 (USA-Italy) of Season 4 in which each team received the prize, a new rule was put into place to eliminate ties. If two or more teams reach the mat at the same time, the order that the teams arrived is determined, with the official check-in time for the other teams being 1 minute after the first team for the second team, 2 minutes after the first team for the third team, and so on. In Season 7, there was an exception to this rule in leg 3, Brian & Greg and Ron & Kelly checked in and departed together at the same time. This happened again in leg 8, where Ron & Kelly and Rob & Amber checked in departed the next leg at the same time. This time difference rule appears to have been removed as of Season 11, as two teams checked in for first place for one leg and left for the next at the same time; however, there was only one prize to be given for finishing first, requiring the teams to determine which team received it.

In some legs, the first team to arrive wins a prize such as a vacation or cruise, which they receive after that particular season has aired on TV. In Seasons 6, 8, 9, 10 and 11, prizes were given to the winners of every leg. In Season 7, different types of rewards such as cash and automobiles were handed out; at least two legs, however, did not have a prize awarded. The winners of the third leg in Season 8 won free gasoline for life, from BP and ARCO (specifically, $1200 of gasoline a year for 50 years, which is $60,000 per winner).

Teams normally complete all tasks and check in at the Pit Stop before they are eliminated. Occasionally, on an elimination leg, if all other teams have checked in and the last team is very far behind, Route Markers may instruct them to go directly to the Pit Stop without completing the rest of the leg (Peggy & Claire, Mary & Peach in Season 2, Michael & Kathy, Andre & Damon in Season 3, Peter & Sarah in Season 10) Conversely, host Phil Keoghan may go out to the team's location to eliminate them if they won't/can't finish a task (Marshall & Lance in Season 5, Lena & Kristy in Season 6). There have been times where a team, after all others reached the Pit Stop, appears to have been directed to the Pit Stop or to quit the last Detour or Roadblock prematurely in some manner outside the normal method of providing a Route Marker (Paul & Amie in Season 1, Shola & Doyin in Season 2, and Kellie & Jamie in Season 10)

Pit Stops

Pit Stops are the final destination in each leg of the race, and where all non-eliminated teams go after checking in at the mat. Each Pit Stop is a mandatory rest period which allows teams to "eat, sleep, and mingle" with each other; earlier seasons showed some of these periods of rest for the racers, but has not been used as much in later seasons. The production staff provides lodging (from simple accommodations as tents or cots to complete hotel service) and food free-of-charge to the teams at the Pit Stops (food during the legs must be purchased with the money the teams receive). During the Pit Stop, teams are also interviewed to provide commentary and voice-overs for the completed leg. While teams are restricted to where they can go, teams are free to use the remaining time for any purpose as they see fit. During Pit Stops, racers are sometimes required to relinquish Race-provided material from the previous legs, including clues, maps, and additional instructions.

Teams depart for the next leg of the race at the time they arrived plus twelve hours. While a team arriving at 12:00 p.m. will depart at 12:00 a.m., the total amount of rest time may be more than twelve hours, in which case the pit stop will be extended by 24 hour increments—such as one day and twelve hours (36 hours). In latter seasons, some Pit Stops have been between 12 and 24 hours, presumably for safety reasons so that teams are not driving themselves during night hours, to keep teams from hanging around in an airport for a long time, or to prevent teams from accessing earlier flights that could disrupt filming. The exact Pit Stop times are never reported by the show, but have been determined by fans using a combination of flight information, screen captures, and show information. The longest known Pit Stop occurred in Season 1, where the Pit Stop in Tunisia lasted 60 hours due to a sandstorm that also forced production to relocate the Pit Stop. Teams are responsible for being ready for the next leg when they are scheduled to leave; no credit is given if a team misses their scheduled departure (Peggy & Claire in Season 2, Andre & Damon in Season 3).

Double-length legs

Season 6 introduced the first double-length leg shown over two episodes. The televised episode ended with a 'To Be Continued' message instead of a Pit Stop. The second half of the leg featured a second Detour and second Roadblock. Seasons 7, 8 and 9 each had a double-length leg with teams meeting Keoghan on the usual Pit Stop mat at the halfway point, only to have him hand them the next clue instead of checking them in. In Season 10, the double-length did not involve meeting Keoghan, but rather teams were informed to "KEEP RACING!!!" in their next route marker. In addition, the 2-hour finale of Season 8 took place over a double-length leg similar to Season 6's. Generally, the clues leading up to these longer legs are easy to identify because the teams will read a clue like "Go find Phil at the mat" instead of "Check into the next Pit Stop." While there was no set rest period between the two parts of these legs, there usually is some point for the teams to eat, rest and recover prior to the second set of tasks, either due to waiting for hours of operation with provided accommodations or a long train or plane ride.

"To Be Continued" legs appeared to be born out of sheer luck during Season 6. Leg 6 in Hungary was originally planned to be two legs, with a non-elimination point (with the stripping-of-all-cash rule in place) between the legs. However, the producers discovered during the race that begging is illegal in Hungary, which would have made it nearly impossible for the last place team to acquire the money needed for the upcoming leg, and quickly devised the extended leg to mimic the effects of a non-elimination leg (keeping the same number of teams in the race), and using a simple video message clue to provide teams the goal for the first task of the second half of the leg. [cite web |url=|title=Hayden & Aaron: TAR 6|accessdate=2008-02-12|last=Crumbaugh|first=Aaron|date=2005-03-24|publisher=Televison Without Pity Forums|quote= ]

Non-elimination legs

Each race has a number of predetermined non-elimination legs, in which the last team to check in at the Pit Stop is not eliminated and is allowed to continue on the race. Racers are not told in advance which legs are non-elimination legs. In Seasons 1, 2 and 3 the clue preceding the Pit Stop ended with the statement, "The last team to check in "will" be eliminated", except in non-elimination legs. In Season 4, the clue preceding the Pit Stop ended with the statement "The last team to check in "will" be eliminated" in the first few legs, and then just a statement of the next Pit Stop would be announced without the warning of elimination after the seventh leg, elimination or non-elimination. On Season 5, the clues varied between "The last team to check in will be eliminated" and "may be eliminated." Particularly legs where it was definitely an elimination ended with will be eliminated. Beginning in Season 6, the statement "The last team to check in "may" be eliminated" has been used on every leg with the exception of the first.

Up through Season 4, teams received no penalty for finishing last in a non-elimination leg.

From Seasons 5 to 9, a penalty was given to the team arriving last at a Pit Stop in a non-elimination leg. These teams were required to turn over all the money they accumulated throughout the race and had to begin the next leg with zero dollars to their name, meaning they did not receive the money given to the other teams at the start of the leg and could not collect money during the Pit Stop. Teams generally begged from locals or even from other teams during the Pit Stop to rebuild their cash reserves.

From Seasons 7 to 9, the penalty for arriving last during a non-elimination leg became more severe. In addition to being stripped of all their money and starting the next leg without an allowance, teams were forced to surrender all their possessions, except for their passports and the clothes they were wearing, for the remainder of the Race. This often resulted in teams who believe they are coming in last checking in at the Pit Stop wearing every single article of clothing on the chance that it was a non-elimination leg, making for a rather comical sight in some cases (a notable example being the Paolo Family in Season 8 donning their underwear then realizing that they still had a chance to beat the Bransen Family; conversely, Brian and Greg in Season 7 believed they would come in last, and opted to take all of their clothes "off"; they did come in last, and were eliminated).

In Seasons 10 & All-Stars, the only penalty for teams arriving in last place on a non-elimination leg was that they became "marked for elimination". They needed to arrive at the next Pit Stop in first place or else they would receive a 30-minute penalty and have to wait that long before they could officially check in.


'Double-elimination' legs

Season 10 introduced the first surprise elimination, when the last team to arrive at a checkpoint midway through the first leg was eliminated on the spot. At the end of the leg, there was a normal elimination at the mat, making it the first season ever that two teams were eliminated in the same leg.

Final leg

Three teams compete in the last leg of the race. This first part of the leg includes intermediate destination(s) where the teams must travel to complete a series of tasks (Alaska, United States Seasons 1, 2, and 9; Hawaii, United States, Seasons 3, 4, 6 and 11; Calgary, Canada, Season 5; Puerto Rico, United States, Season 7; Montreal and Toronto, Canada, Season 8; Paris, France, Season 10). The second part of the leg has teams traveling to a final destination, usually located in a major U.S. city. The only exception to this was in Season 12 where the final three teams received instructions stating "Fly to your final destination city" at the beginning of the final leg. The teams flew to Anchorage, Alaska, and finished the race in Girdwood, a city near Anchorage. Also, the teams did not travel to an intermediate destination, and this Race was the first to hold a Finish Line not in the contiguous lower 48 states. Remaining teams must complete one or more tasks before receiving the clue directing them to the Finish Line. At the finish line, host Phil Keoghan and all the eliminated teams wait for the remaining teams to arrive.

The first team to reach the finish line wins the race and the top cash prize, which varies depending on the version of the show. All other teams win lesser amounts of money on a sliding scale based on their finishing order. [TARflies Times: The Amazing Race FAQ: Eliminated Teams. " [ Do the losing teams get any cash prizes?] . Retrieved on January 15, 2007.]

Ideally, all three remaining teams arrive at the finish line within a reasonable amount of time. On occasion, the third place team has fallen so far behind the other two teams that they cannot finish the race in a timely manner. In this case, after the other two teams finish, they are informed that the race is over at their next Route Marker (Joe and Bill, Season 1; David and Jeff, Season 4).

Rules and penalties

All teams must abide by the rules set at the beginning of the race. Failure to do so can result in time penalties, which can negatively affect finishing position in that leg of the race. While the complete set of official rules has not been released to the public, certain rules have been revealed during the various editions of the race:


*Teams must purchase economy class tickets for airfare. Teams are allowed to be upgraded to first or business class by the airline, as long as they only paid an economy fare (Rob & Brennan and Frank & Margarita, Season 1; Reichen & Chip, Season 4; Ray & Deana, Season 7; Eric & Danielle, Season 11; Ronald & Christina, Season 12). Airline tickets must be purchased using the team's credit card (provided by the show), rather than money on hand. [The Amazing Race FAQ: Basic Rules. " [ OK, I'm confused about the rules for booking airplane tickets.] " Retrieved on January 15, 2007.] The credit card cannot be used for any other purpose, and may only be accessed in the airport, rather than online internet booking. [cite web|url=|title=Amazing Race Interview: Kate & Pat|accessdate=2008-02-09|last=Goldman|first=Eric|date=2007-11-15||quote= ] For Season 8, where the main transportation was automobiles, teams were allowed to purchase gasoline with the card in addition to air fare.
*When teams need to purchase their own tickets, they may not travel on airlines or air routes that have been blacklisted by production, or may be only allowed to fly on airlines within a given white list; this is generally for safety and security reasons, but has also been used to prevent teams from finding routes not previously identified by the race planners that would gain considerably more time than expected and leading to teams potentially being more than a day apart.
*Teams are not allowed contact with known friends, family, and personal acquaintances during the race. However, teams are allowed to stay in contact with and receive help from people they meet during the race, such as a travel agent or locals. One exception to this rule occurred in Season 3. Teams were offered a cellular phone after completing a Detour. As CBS's website explains, "They had the option of making one phone call to their loved ones back home before driving to the chateau. Teams could talk on the phone as long as they wanted, but had to end the call before getting in their cars." [cite episode |title = Why Did You Have to Take Your Pants Off?!|url =|series=The Amazing Race|serieslink = The Amazing Race (U.S. TV series)|network=CBS|airdate = 2002-12-04|season = 3|number = 9] Another exception to this rule was in Seasons 10 and 11, when the winners were allowed to call their families from the Finish Line to tell them they had won. In previous seasons, the winning team was not allowed to reveal their placing until the episode had aired.
*When stated, teams may not help other teams in challenges. (Gretchen said this when she was helped by Uchenna with the boat in Season 7.) [cite episode |title = The Devil Made Me Do It|url =|series=The Amazing Race|serieslink = The Amazing Race (U.S. TV series)|network=CBS|airdate = 2005-05-03|season = 7|number = 11] Otherwise, teams may assist one another in completing tasks, as seen in Season 8, where many teams had help setting up their tents, and the Linz and Godlewski teams cooperated to complete a Detour. [cite episode |title = We're Getting Out of the Country, Girls|url =|series=The Amazing Race|serieslink = The Amazing Race (U.S. TV series)|network=CBS|airdate = 2005-10-25|season = 8|number = 5] When there is an Intersection, teams are "forced" to work together.
*Racers are prohibited from smoking during the race. [TAR FAQ: Living on the Road. " [ Why doesn't this show ever cast smokers?] ". Retrieved on January 15, 2007.] This results in the sometimes cantankerous attitude of some contestants, such as Ian (Season 3) who quit smoking just prior to the race.
*Each team is accompanied by a two-person audio/video crew for the duration of the leg. The A/V crews rotate after each leg. For filming purposes, team members are generally required to stay within 20 feet of each other, unless one person is performing a Roadblock, [TAR FAQ: Basic Rules. [ Are teammates ever allowed to separate?] Retrieved on January 15, 2007.] and must also stay close to their A/V crew unless otherwise instructed. The A/V crew must be able to accompany the team when they use a form of transportation unless otherwise indicated; in other words, there must be room in a car, taxi, bus, train, or plane for both members of the team and the two crew members, otherwise, the team is then unable to use that form of transportation.
*Teams are forbidden from bringing maps, guidebooks, language books, and many electronic devices including cell phones, GPS units, and PDAs, though maps and guidebooks may be purchased during the race from the money they have been given. [TAR FAQ: Basic Rules. [ What sorts of items are the teams not allowed to bring?] Retrieved on January 15, 2007.] The teams are otherwise free to carry as much or as little as they deem necessary. Generally, teams will be provided with winter clothing if they reach cold climates, and are not required to include these articles within their bags. Each team is also given a fanny pack (black with yellow and red stripes, sometimes called "The Amazing Purse") which is not considered part of their luggage (for purposes of the non-elimination penalty in Season 7, Season 8, and Season 9). Teams are to use this pack to keep their passports and official Race documentation and travel forms, and it cannot be left behind as with personal belongings.
*Teams may be forced to submit their backpacks and possessions to searches by production staff at any time and are checked just prior to the start of the race.
*Additional rules specific for a leg or for a task may be given along with the normal clue that is seen by the audience, provided to racers as one or more sheets of standard typewritten notes that are often seen on the show; these rules are generally not explained to the audience unless a violation of these rules occurs, but teams are required to abide by these additional rules until told otherwise. These rules typically outline driving and air travel restrictions.

Penalties and time credits

*The standard penalty for minor rule infractions is 30 minutes plus the time advantage gained (if any) by disobeying the rule. When the team arrives at a pit stop, Phil Keoghan will state "you are the "n"th team to arrive", and then he will inform them of the penalty or the missed clue. This penalty is known to apply when taking the wrong form [cite episode |title = Did You See How I Stopped It? With My Face|url =|series=The Amazing Race|serieslink = The Amazing Race (U.S. TV series)|network=CBS|airdate = 2002-10-23|season = 3|number = 4 Heather and Eve received a 30-minute penalty plus the time they gained by taking a taxi, when the clue instructed them to walk.] or a prohibited mode [cite episode |title = Oh, Wow! It's Like One of Those Things You See on TV!|url =|series=The Amazing Race|serieslink = The Amazing Race (U.S. TV series)|network=CBS|airdate = 2006-10-01|season = 10|number = 3 Tom and Terry received a 30-minute penalty for traveling by motorcycle, which was prohibited for safety reasons.] of transportation, not following the instructions on the clue, or interfering with other teams in ways such as (inadvertently) taking another team's assigned car or taking more than one clue from a clue box. [cite episode |title = I'm Not His Wife – He Doesn't Need to Scream at Me|url =|series=The Amazing Race|serieslink = The Amazing Race (U.S. TV series)|network=CBS|airdate = 2004-11-23|season = 6|number = 2]
**If a team realizes they performed an infraction of the rules before they move on to the next task or check in, they can go back to the point where the infraction occurred and repeat the task as per the rules without any penalty outside of the time wasted to return to the task, unless their actions have interfered with another team, in which case a penalty is still applied. In some cases, a team that skips a Route Marker or performs a task incorrectly does not receive a penalty; rather, the racers will not be able to check in at the Pit Stop and will be told by host Phil Keoghan to complete the missed tasks.
*If a team should quit a Roadblock, they are assessed a four-hour penalty starting from when the next team arrives. [cite episode |title = Do You Need Some Mouth-to-Mouth Resuscitation |url =|series = The Amazing Race|serieslink=The Amazing Race (U.S. TV series)|network = CBS|airdate = 2005-03-15|season = 7|number = 3] If a team should quit a Detour, they are assessed a 24-hour penalty (though this has only occurred once, when Nancy & Emily quit the Detour in Season 1). [cite episode |title = The Unexpected Twist|url =|series = The Amazing Race|serieslink = The Amazing Race (U.S. TV series)|network = CBS|airdate = 2001-11-14|season = 1|number = 9]
*If a team's vehicle breaks down through no fault of their own or otherwise becomes inoperable, they may request a replacement vehicle without receiving a time penalty. However, no time credit is given for their wait in this unlucky situation. [TAR FAQ: Basic Rules. [ What happens if a team's car breaks down?] Retrieved on January 17, 2007.] "(See The Amazing Race 2 Trivia)".
*In Season 10 and Season 11, teams that arrive last in non-elimination legs are assessed a 30-minute penalty upon completing the following leg unless they have arrived first, in which case no penalty is applied.
*Teams that fly on business class tickets are assessed a 24 hour penalty. [cite web | url = | title = INTERVIEW: 'The Amazing Race's Azaria and Hendekea Azene dish | publisher = Reality TV World | date = 2007-12-10 | accessdate = 2007-12-11 | first = Christopher | last = Rocchio ]
*Sometimes, teams are delayed by production difficulties. In early seasons, several teams were awarded time credits because of such difficulties.

Most penalties and time credits are applied when the team arrives at the Pit Stop, regardless of where the penalty occurred during the leg; Phil will ask the team to step off to the side and wait out their penalty while other teams may check-in before them. The only exception to this rule is the four-hour penalty that occurs by quitting a Roadblock; this penalty is applied immediately after a team decides to quit, and starts when the next team arrives at the Roadblock (Rob & Amber exploited this exception in Season 7 to stay in the race).Penalties may be assessed after a leg and applied to the start time for the next leg but otherwise do not affect placement of the teams and thus aren't shown, though they can usually be inferred. Only in the case where a penalty affects team placement will the post-assessment of a penalty be shown (such as with Heather and Eve in Season 3).


The production of "The Amazing Race" is a challenge due to its premise being a race around the world. Among the difficult duties that producers face, scoping out locations, designing tasks, selecting teams, and planning logistics for the entire course are the most important to accomplish in pre-production. During the Race, the camera crews need to keep up with the movement of the teams and the host. And when the footage for the entire season has been filmed and edited, team members and crew are responsible for not leaking any spoilers that may hint at locations, events, or outcomes of the Race.

Through its efforts, the American version has received many accolades, including Primetime Emmy Awards and nominations in categories for audio and video production and editing.

"The Amazing Race" around the world

The original version of "The Amazing Race" is the American version, which debuted on CBS in September 2001. In October 2005, CBS optioned The Amazing Race for franchising to other countries. Buena Vista International Television-Asia Pacific (BVITV-AP) and Sony Pictures Television International's AXN Asia announced an Asian edition of the race, billed as The Amazing Race Asia, that same month. [cite web|url=|title=The Amazing Race Format makes a pit stop in ASIA PACIFIC - Thailand 4 News and Press Releases |accessyear=2006] Applications ran from February to the end of March 2006. [cite web|url=|title=The Amazing Race Asia |accessyear=2006] Filming was begun in June. Its first season premiered on November 9, 2006 and concluded on February 1, 2007.

During 2005, AXN Central Europe announced a version of the show to be called "The Amazing Race Central Europe". Applications are closed with the submission of 2,500 applicants, with filming expected to have occurred in 2006 and broadcast from September 2006. [cite web|url=|title=Риалити състезанието "The Amazing Race - Central Europe" следва оригинала|date=2005-10-26|language=Polski|accessdate=2008-10-11] The show has yet to air and has been pulled from AXN's website, fueling rumors of cancellation.

In addition, a South-American independent production company announced in late 2006 that it would be producing a Brazilian version in 2007, to be called "", and to be aired in a purchased time slot in the Brazilian network RedeTV!. Applications were open from January until July, and filming occurred during August and September. The first season premiered on October 13, 2007 and concluded on January 5, 2008. [cite web|url=|title=The Amazing Race: A Corrida Milionária official website (portuguese) |accessyear=2007]

On April 8, 2008, Israel's television Reshet had licensed to produce the local version of the show, known as "Ha'Merotz La'Million" (The Race to the Million in English). It will be filming across Asia and scheduled to be premiered later this year. [cite news|url= |title=The Amazing Race Heads to Israel |accessdate=2008-04-09]


External links

* Official USA websites
** [ Seasons 1] · [ 2] · [ 3] · [ 4] · [ 5]
** [ Seasons 6] · [ 7] · [ 8] · [ 9] · [ 10]
** [ Seasons 11] · [ 12] · [ 13]
** [ "The Amazing Race" wiki]
* [ Official "The Amazing Race Asia" website]
* [ Official "The Amazing Race: A Corrida Milionária" website] pt icon
* [ Party plan for kids: "The Amazing Chase Party Plan" website]

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