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The Amazing Race 1

This is about the American version, For the first season of Asian version, see The Amazing Race Asia 1.

The Amazing Race (now referred to as The Amazing Race 1) was the first installment of the reality television show, The Amazing Race. It premiered on September 5, 2001 and ended on December 12, 2001 on US television.



Season 1 was not particularly a ratings success, since it premiered a week before the September 11 attacks. Immediately following 9/11, interest in foreign travel waned and viewership fell correspondingly. The show was further hindered by the lack of media coverage and promotion as networks focused on news stories and more patriotic programming. Additionally, the show premiered and competed in the same time slot as with NBC's short-lived Lost, another reality show. The show did just well enough to earn a second season, which aired the following spring.


The long anticipated Season 1 DVD was released on September 27, 2005, also the premiere date for Season 8.


The following teams participated in the Race, with their relationships at the time of filming. Note that this table is not necessarily reflective of all content broadcasted on television due to inclusion or exclusion of some data. Placements are listed in finishing order:
Team Relationship Position (by leg) Roadblocks performed1
1 2 3 5 7 9 10ƒ 11 12 13
Rob & Brennan Lawyers / Best Friends 1stƒ 3rd 3rd 6th 4th 3rd 3rd 3rd 1st 1st 2nd 1st 1st Rob 5, Brennan 7
Frank & Margarita Separated Parents 3rd 4th 2nd 5th 5th 1st5 1stƒ 2nd 2nd 2nd 1st 2nd 2nd Frank 8, Margarita 3
Joe & Bill Life Partners 2nd 2nd 4th 1st 2nd 2nd5 2nd 4th 4thƒ 4th 3rd 3rd 3rd8 Joe 6, Bill 4
Kevin & Drew Fraternity Brothers 9th 5th 1stƒ 2nd 1st 4th 4th 1st 3rd 3rd 4th Kevin 5, Drew 4
Nancy & Emily Mother & Daughter 10th 7th 8th 3rd 3rd 5th 5th 5th 5th7 Nancy 2, Emily 6
Lenny & Karyn Dating 4th 9th 7th 7th 6th 6th6 6th Lenny 2, Karyn 4
Paul & Amie Engaged 7th 6th 6th 4th4 7th Paul 2, Amie 1
Grandparents 8th2 8th3 5th 8th Dave 2, Margaretta 0
Pat & Brenda Working Moms 5th 1stƒ 9th Pat 1, Brenda 0
Kim & Leslie 6th 10th Kim 1, Leslie 0
Matt & Ana Married 11th Matt 0, Ana 0

Although the DVD shows some teams completing the unaired Roadblock in Leg 1, not all teams are shown, therefore it cannot be told who completed said Roadblock.
Dave and Margaretta arrived at the Pit Stop 7th, but on the start of Leg 2, they departed 8th after Paul and Amie for an unknown reason.
Dave & Margaretta arrived 6th, but were penalized one hour for improperly completing the Roadblock, dropping to 8th.
Paul and Amie originally arrived in fifth place, but due to a production difficulty, they were given a time credit, which pushed them up to fourth place.
Frank & Margarita and Joe & Bill were the first two teams to arrive, but they misread the clue and received a 30 minute penalty. The penalty did not affect either of the teams' placement.
Lenny and Karyn were granted a time credit for production difficulties. This did not affect their placement.
Nancy & Emily arrived 4th, but had skipped the Detour and therefore received a 24-hour penalty.
Although Joe and Bill were in third place at the end of the episode, they did not finish the race. They received a clue in Alaska telling them that Rob & Brennan had won.

  • Red means the team was eliminated.
  • An underlined Blue means the team was the last to arrive at a pit stop in a non-elimination leg of the race.
  • Green ƒ means the team won the Fast Forward clue. A green-colored leg number indicates that the Fast Forward was available for that leg but not used.

Episode titles

The episode titles are:

  1. The Race Begins
  2. Divide And Conquer
  3. Home For Some
  4. Colossal Showdown
  5. Desert Storm
  6. Whatever It Takes To Win
  7. Triumph And Loss
  8. Competition To The Fullest
  9. The Unexpected Twist
  10. To The Physical And Mental Limit
  11. Fight To The Last Minutes
  12. Race To The Finish

Notable events


  • Paul J. Alessi made an appearance on TLC's music video, Waterfalls.


  • Season 1 took 39 days to film, as opposed to the average four weeks in other seasons.
  • Although the race is planned so that the final three teams will all reach the finish line, Joe and Bill were so far behind that they could not catch up and did not finish the race. This also occurred for the 3rd-place team (David & Jeff) on The Amazing Race 4.
  • On Leg 5 Paul and Amie were lost in the Sahara desert after trying numerous routes, getting half of their car stuck in a ditch, and Amie vomiting excessively. Paul quit, but his partner didn't and found the desert oasis pit stop by luck, unknowingly skipping the roadblock and route marker. They were not told to go back and complete the Roadblock, because they arrived in last place.
  • At the end of Leg 5, teams were relocated to Gabès because of a sandstorm at the desert pitstop. Therefore, Leg 6 began in Gabès.
  • An airport strike in Rome delayed Leg 6.
  • During Leg 13, when Joe and Bill were still completing leg 12, Team Guido was required to have villagers bounce one teammate upwards by the use of an Alaskan tapestry. According to the DVD commentary, the tapestry broke under the weight the day before, so a trampoline had to be used instead. This created a noticeable and odd scene where you never see Team Guido and the villagers in the same shot. In the final shot, the trampoline is clearly visible behind the villagers.
  • The pilot who flew Rob and Brennan and Frank and Margarita to Seattle in Leg 13 later contacted Rob and Brennan.


  • After the race, Emily and Brennan started dating.
  • Kevin and Drew made an appearance in Season 8, handing out clues from a hot dog stand in New York City.
  • After the race, Frank and Margarita reconciled. However, they have since divorced and Frank has remarried. Frank and his new wife are expecting children. Margarita remained with her daughter.
  • After the race, Lenny and Karyn broke up. Lenny is now married and has children.
  • Kevin & Drew and Joe & Bill were selected to compete in The Amazing Race All-Stars.
  • Joe & Bill received a somewhat mocking letter from Frank as part of a Roadblock in All-Stars, where Frank did some freestyle poetry and then said he hoped his letter annoyed Joe & Bill as much as they annoyed him. Footage of Frank was shown in the episode. Joe & Bill later interviewed that there was also a much friendlier letter from Nancy & Emily in the pile and they were sorry they hadn't gotten to read that one on the air.
  • On "The Amazing Race:All-Stars Mat Chat", the Guidos said they were running the race for Margaretta, as she had been in and out of hospital. According to Paul J. Alessi (from Paul & Amie), Margaretta had been fighting cancer for quite some time, and according to Kevin (of Kevin and Drew) she was undergoing chemotherapy. Margaretta recently announced that she is in remission.
  • Paul & Amie married.
  • Kevin & Drew, Lenny & Karyn, Rob & Brennan and Joe & Bill did commentary for the Season 1 DVD.

Race summary

Leg 1 (United States → South Africa → Zambia)

In the first Fast Forward of the race, teams had to hike down a steep slope to Boiling Pot. The Detour for this leg was Air or Land. In Air, teams had to take a zipline and then do a 54-meter gorge swing. In Land, teams had to take a long hike down the mountains. All teams (except Rob & Brennan) chose Air. The Roadblock, which was unaired (but available on the DVD set), was to eat an ostrich egg.

Leg 2 (Zambia → South Africa → France)

The Detour for this leg was Near or Far In Near, teams went to a nearby jungle to photograph three hard to find animals. In Far, teams had to go to Botswana to photograph only one elephant. The Roadblock on this leg was to climb up part of the Eiffel Tower and look for the pitstop (the Arc de Triomphe) with a telescope. The Fast Forward was to whitewater raft with Bundu Adventures.Additional task

  • At Mukini village, Teams take their part in a traditional welcome ceremony for honored guests. The ceremony involve meeting the village chief as well as viewing a tribal dance.

Leg 3 (France)

The first challenge on this leg was the Detour: Tough Climb or Easy Walk. In Tough Climb the teams had to climb up the tower of Notre Dame de Paris and ring a bell. In Easy Walk, teams had to find the Foucault pendulum in the Panthéon. The only catch was there were two Foucault pendulums at two different places, which the teams didn't know. In the Roadblock, one member of each team had to walk through the sewers of Paris. The Fast Forward was to find an obsure tea shop and pick the right tea in Mariage Frères.

Leg 4 (France → Tunisia)

The Detour on this leg was Full Body Brew or Full Body Massage. In Full Body Brew, teams had to find a coffee shop in Bab Bhar marketplace, without a map. In Full Body Massage, teams, with the help of a map, had to find a massage area and sit through a 20 minute massage. The Roadblock took place at the Amphitheater of Thysdrus. The person performing the Roadblock had to navigate the amphitheater to find the pit of death. Then, they had to take a sword from the pit and bring it to the pit stop. The unused Fast Forward told teams to go fishing for it on board the ‘Kinsa’ in the port of Sidi Bou Said.Additional task

  • At the Marseilles ferry terminal, Teams traveled from France to Tunisia by boat.

Leg 5 (Tunisia)

In Tataouine, Tunisia, teams found a Detour: Listening or Puzzling In Listening, teams had to locate a Star Wars set and get a walkie talkie. Using their walkie talkie, they had to find the other one on the set. In Puzzling, teams had to locate a specific house in Tataouine, and win a Tunisian dice game. The Roadblock was to ride a camel led by the non-Roadblocking partner in the Sahara Desert. The team member riding the camel had to us a compass, and set of compass directions (E.G. travel 50 meters north-west, then 17 meters, east) to find a route marker in the middle of the Sahara Desert.

Leg 6 (Tunisia → Italy)

In Rome, teams encountered a Detour, Foot or Hoof. Foot required teams to find a large statue of a foot, and their next clue. In Hoof teams were given a picture of a hoof and had to match up the hoof to a hoof on a statue. At the bottom of the horse statue, there were taxis, so teams would pick up speed. The Roadblock was to drive a small car to find the pit stop, Sant' Agata Bolognese, using a map in Italian. the team member also had follow a specific route to the Pit Stop.

Leg 7 (Italy → India)

The Detour of this leg was Glide or Ride. In Glide, teams took a glider ride with a professional glider, first come, first serve. In Ride, teams had to ride bikes with a map to the clue box. The Fast Forward was to find Castello Estense and ride a boat in the moat to find a clue on the wall. The Roadblock was to hire a rickshaw and find a shopkeeper in Red Fort Market.

Leg 8 (India)

The Detour of this leg was Elephant or Rowboat. In Elephant, teams had to find a holy man by riding an elephant to his location. In Rowboat, teams had to find a holy man using the boat to get to his location. The Roadblock was to find a jar of clues in Karni Mata Temple, a temple of rats, with only socks on. The unused Fast Forward had teams traveling to Jantar Mantar to climb 22 or 33 steps.

Leg 9 (India → Thailand)

In Thailand, the Detour was Public or Private. In Public teams had to go to a local bus station for a bus leaving every 15 minutes, going to their next location. In Private, teams had to find a van within a specified perimeter of Bangkok, with a license plate as their only clue. The Fast Forward was to go to the Temple of the Reclining Buddha and find the bowl with the correct number of coins to participate in the ritual correctly. The in the Roadblock one team member had to walk through a pit of tigers.

Leg 10 (Thailand)

The Detour on this leg was Hike or Climb. In Hike, teams had to go on a long hike to find their next clue. In Climb, teams had to climb King's Rock Climb Wall, and then rappel into a boat. The Roadblock was to paddle a kayak with the team and their luggage to a nearby cave with snorkling gear and their next clue. The clue said to use the scuba gear to dive for their next clue.

Leg 11 (Thailand → People's Republic of China)

In mainland China, teams encountered the Detour: Volley or Rally. In Volley teams had to score five points in a ping-pong game against an expert ping-pong player. In Rally, teams took three common forms of transportation of People's Republic of China (Bus, Motorcycle, and Rickshaw) to get to their next clue. The Roadblock was to eat the food bought at the Beijing Food Market, including chicken feet, beetle larvae, and squid.

Leg 12 (People's Republic of China → United States)

The Detour for this leg was Flat or Steep. In Flat, teams took a flat route of the Great Wall of China to find their clue. In Steep teams took a steeper, but shorter, route. The Roadblock in Alaska, USA, was to climb the Matanuska Glacier.Additional task

  • One Team member must be bounced up and down on an Alaskan tapestry until they spot the next route marker.

Leg 13 (United States)

The Detour on this leg was Dog Power or Horsepower. In Dog Power, teams mushed sled dogs to their next clue. In Horsepower, teams had to take a much longer route with a snowmobile. The last challenge of the race was a Roadblock. In this Roadblock, teams had to strip down to underwear or a bathing suit and completely submerge into the frigid waters of Fish Lake, an Alaskan tradition.


  • The Amazing Race: The First Season. CBS. DVD. Paramount, 2005.

External links

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