Darren McMullen has opened up about his time on The Amazing Race and revealed the brutal side of the reality show that viewers don’t get to see on TV.
The popular host and actor, who has made it to Thursday night’s finale with his nephew Tristan, tells Yahoo Lifestyle the experience was much more difficult than fans might expect.
“The Amazing Race was truly, really, really hard,” he says. “People ask, ‘Was it fun?’. I don’t think fun is the right adjective, it was kind of horrendous. It was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done in my life, I'll say that, but it wasn't fun during it.
“You're not really eating much, you’re kind of starved, you're definitely not sleeping well, you’re getting on these awful flights, red eye flights sometimes flying 5, 6, 7 hours - they’re always delayed three or four hours - and you're just a bit delirious and you've got these horrendous smells and this insane heat wherever you go.”
Darren went on to say that by the time they made it to the final leg of the race, he and Tristan were feeling “completely battered and bruised”.
“In the last couple of episodes I’ve been wearing a bandage on my hand because I just had blisters and cuts all over my hand,” he adds.
“And of course then you're going into this really unclean, swampy water getting infections in your hand. It was f**king horrible.”
'That was f**king easy'
While the final stages of the race were extremely difficult, Darren says he found the first leg in India to be “super easy”.
“The weird thing was with that first leg I remember everyone being so battered with it and going, ‘Oh my God, that was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, that was insane, I can't keep this up and I certainly can't do more episodes if they're all going to be like this’,” he recalls. “And we were kind of looking at each other going, that was really easy for us.
“We won by a good 45 minutes to an hour that day. We were like, that was f**king easy, but it was so hard for everyone.”
Darren adds that he was buying T-shirts and mingling with locals in the same episode where Grant Denyer had a medical emergency.
“I was going souvenir shopping and meanwhile Grant Denyer is getting rushed off to hospital,” he says with a laugh. “I was like, ‘Jesus these guys have lived fluffy lives, haven’t they? F**king hell, I’m just having the time of my life here’.”
“We were never rushed off to hospital or anything like that thankfully, but it definitely got a lot harder.”
'A real tear-jerker'
Despite the difficult conditions and extremities of the race, Darren says he would “absolutely” do The Amazing Race again.
“An All-Stars would be fantastic, I would love to do it again,” he shares. “One thing I said to Tristan going into is no matter how hard this gets, and it will get hard, just remind ourselves why we're here and that's for the charity (Feel the Magic) and that'll get us through some of the tougher points.
“But also really stay present during it and enjoy the ride because I guarantee you'll miss it when it stops. As bad as it's going to get, it’s going to be a phenomenal experience to look back on in years to come.”
“There's a little bit of a twist, it’s something that's never happened in the history of the show before and it creates a bit of tension, drama, tears,” he says.
“Not everyone will be happy with the outcome because of it, but it is what it is.”
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