The world of athletic competition shows is only expanding, with American Ninja Warrior, Netflix’s Ultimate Beastmaster, The Rock’s Titan Games, and now, Eco-Challenge 2019—which claims to be the most difficult of all.
The show from mega-producer Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Voice) is actually a reboot of his old Eco-Challenge, which started in 1995. The new version, coming to Amazon Prime, is likewise a 24-hours-a-day, multi-day race with all sorts of physical challenges to exhaust competitors to the brink of giving up. Past activities have included whitewater rafting, rappelling, kayaking, mountaineering, horseback riding, camel riding (!), scuba diving, and mountain biking.
But you don’t go it alone: Teams comprised of men and women go up against each other in the 400-plus-mile race course, and if one quits, the whole team is disqualified. The location of 2019’s race—expect some far-flung natural landscape—and the exact disciplines involved will be announced later in the year. What we know now is that in addition to Burnet overseeing things, adventurer star Bear Grylls of Man vs. Wild will host the show.
And it’s not for the faint of heart: Burnett once advertised that Eco-Challenge “eats Ironmen for breakfast,” and it currently bills itself as the “most physically challenging competition of all time.” Not only do you have to spend several days testing the limits your endurance, but competitors must carry out all trash, including solid human waste. (Hopefully there’s no feces-slinging, but that seems like a pipe dream)
“Eco-Challenge is the ultimate survival-adventure race, against the elements, against the clock, and against some of the greatest extreme athletes the world has ever seen,” Grylls said of the reboot.
“I owe so much to Eco-Challenge. I came to the competition after I spent a few years competing professionally in expedition competitions,” Burnett added. “I went on to produce Eco-Challenge for a decade. It started my entire TV career and afforded me my first Emmy. I’ve been asked one question over and over: When is it coming back? Now it is.”
If you feel like you have the athleticism and stomach for competing, you can sign up for a shot at competing at ecochallenge.com.
By Paul Schrodt