The Eco-Challenge adventure racing series aired in the ’90s, and after 17 years, it’s back. These are the Eco-Challenge winners and the teams that finished the ‘world’s toughest race.’
The race covers more than 415 miles (671 km), and teams must trek, bike, raft, climb, paddleboard, swim, rappel, and cross oceans to reach the finish. This year’s race in Fiji consisted of five legs or sections: ocean, jungle, river, highland, and island. And at each, teams had to locate and retrieve a medallion to continue.
Who Won Eco-Challenge Fiji?
After battling a capsized outrigger at the start and again at the end, as well as a few other obstacles along the way, Team New Zealand was victorious and placed first in the race after just under 6 days on the course. Eco-Challenge winners Team New Zealand consists of team captain Nathan Fa’avae, crew Mark Rayward, and racers Sophie Hart, Stuart Lynch, and Chris Forne.
Team New Zealand finished first with a time of 141 hours and 23 minutes, with Team Canada Adventure on their heels finishing a little over an hour later on Day 5 in 143 hours.
The race is timed and nonstop (except for mandatory camp breaks and checkpoints). The teams’ race times are tracked using those time check-ins and GPS trackers. The following list is the official ranking of teams, as documented in the Eco-Challenge TV series.
Eco-Challenge Fiji 2019 Finishing Teams
#1: Team New Zealand — 141 hours 23 minutes
Fun fact: Nathan Fa’avae was also captain for the New Zealand team back in 2002, the last time the Eco-Challenge race was held. They were also Eco-Challenge winners that year.
#2: Team Canada Adventure — 143 hours 0 minutes
#3: Team Gippsland Adventure — 143 hours 31 minutes
Fun fact: Eco-Challenge awards a $100,000 prize to the first-place team, a $50,000 prize to the second-place team, and $25,000 to the third-place team.
#4: Team Tiki Tour — 151 hours 59 minutes
#5: Team Vidaraid Adventure — 154 hours 18 minutes
#6: Team France Expenature — 155 hours 12 minutes
#7: Team Thunderbolt AR — 157 hours 0 minutes
#8: Team Swedeforce — Official time not confirmed
#9: Team Czech — Official time not confirmed
#10: Team Summit — 164 hours 34 minutes
Fun fact: Eco-Challenge can take teams anywhere from 5 to 11 days. While it’s a long race, the top 10 teams all finished within 24 hours of each other. In the sport of adventure racing, especially amongst top teams, these are super-competitive times.
#11: Team Estonia ACE
#12: Team Cyanosis
#13: Team Atlas
#14: Team Bend Racing
Fun fact: Out of the 21 teams from the U.S., Team Bend Racing placed the highest, finishing in spot No. 14 with a time of 181 hours and 51 minutes. In the highland leg, Team Bend Racing made a critical navigation error, which cost them precious race time.
#15: Team Bones Adventure
#16: Team Uruguay Natural
#17: Team Out There
#18: Team Second Chance
#19: Team Colombia
#20: Team Checkpoint Zero
#21: Team Costa Rica
#22: Team UK Adventurers
#23: Team Scouts Australia
#24: Team Teenek Mexico
#25: Team Hombres D’Maiz
#26: Team Aussie Rescue
#27: Team Meridianoraid Spain
#28: Team Tierra Viva
#29: Team US Military
#30: Team AR Georgia
#31: Team To-Get-Ther
#32: Team Peak Pursuit
#33: Team Sundance Kids
#34: Team Iron Cowboy
Fun fact: Team Iron Cowboy consists of all IRONMAN athletes, including James Lawrence, who holds a record for completing 50 IRONMANs in 50 states in 50 days.
#35: Team Checkpoint Hunters
#36: Team Khukuri Warriors
Fun fact: Team Khukuri Warriors was led by twin sisters and Seven Summit mountaineers Tashi and Nungshi Malik.
#37: Team Super Fighters
#38: Team Mad Mayrs
#39: Team Regulators
#40: Team True North
#41: Team Namako
#41: Team Tabu Soro
Fun fact: Both Fijian teams — Team Namako and Team Tabu Soro — joined forces and teamed up to finish together. They completed the course in 11 days, over 5 days after Team New Zealand crossed the finish line.
#43: Team Eagle Scouts
#44: Team Canyoneros
DNF (Did Not Finish)
Out of the 66 teams who entered, 22 teams did not finish, either due to a time cutoff, injury, or sickness (and a couple who pulled themselves out of the race). Here are the teams who DNF (they all battled at least 2 days of racing and obstacles):
- Team Nika (USA)
- Team Unbroken (USA)
- Team Onyx (USA)
- Team Able Abels (USA)
- Team Ireland AR (Ireland)
- Team Israel (Israel)
- Team Freemind Italia (Italy)
- Team East Wind (Japan)
- Team Tollocan Mexico (Mexico)
- Team Atenah Brasil (Brazil)
- Team Outlab Argentina (Argentina)
- Team Curl (USA)
- Team Endure (USA)
- Team Flying J (USA)
- Team Eco DXB (Dubai)
- Team Ecuador (Ecuador)
- Team Science Winning (Russia)
- Team Turk (Turkey)
- Team Chips Adventure (Uruguay)
- Team Peak Traverse (USA)
- Team Stray Dogs (USA)
- Team Strong Machine (USA)