Season 22 of The Amazing Race kicked off last week with an Amazing Race first, travel to Bora Bora, and saw the demise of one of three teams that opted to take the penalty on a Road Block over completing the task. The Firefighters, Matt & Daniel, were the last in a foot race to the Pit Stop at the end of the first leg. The second leg continued in the beautiful locale of Bora Bora, where the remaining 11 teams battled it out in the topical heat and crystal blue waters. Their fear of water ultimately landed twin brothers, Jamil Abdur-Rahman and Idries Abdur-Rahman, at the back of the pack and eliminated at the Pit Stop. The Yak took time to sit down with the OB/GYN Physicians to discuss their stint on the race.
The Yak: When you applied to be on The Amazing Race, did you think your fear of water might have been a challenge somewhere along the race? Did you have any discussions on how to deal with it when it did come up?
Idries: I think we both knew. There were two things coming into the race that we were hoping to minimize: Water and Pork, because we can’t eat pork. We knew that the water was definitely going to come into play. Both of us can swim, but we’re just not super comfortable in the water and we’re not super comfortable with open water. So, our hope was that if we did have to be in water, it would be more like a contained setting, like a pool. We did prepare, though. We did swimming classes and training in the pool. (laughs) We did know that it was going to be an Achilles Heel if it came up. Definitely.
The Yak: You definitely gained some respect from some of our members for not giving up on the task, unlike some of the teams in the previous leg. What made you decide to stick with the Detour rather than take the penalty for not completing it?
Jamil: I think it was a couple of things. For one, just being on the race. It was something that we had wanted to do for so long, and you can’t get on the race and then just give up. You just can’t do that. It was more about having respect for the entire process. You know, it was tough getting on the race and then once you get there, you can’t give up because it gets tough. The second reason was because we knew our friends would see it, our family would see it, along with our children, and our patients, so we didn’t want to be portrayed like that. Then, third, like we said on the race and not to be corny, but it really was true – we had a lot of people early on in our lives who didn’t give up on us. Just out of respect to them, we couldn’t really give up. Even when you know you’re dead, and we knew we were dead, but we couldn’t give up. (laughs) You gotta go full force.
Idries: I agree with that. Also, my wife and I home-school my kids, and we tell them you can’t give up, you gotta keep going. So we couldn’t just go on national TV and give up. That wasn’t going to happen.
The Yak: What is the best memory that you’ll take away from the entire experience?
Idries: The entire experiences itself is just awesome and amazing. I’m going to look at this whole thing and just treasure the memory. It’s so hard to pinpoint one thing that was better than the other. The whole experience was amazing. I know it sounds corny, but it was just amazing! The whole thing was cool.
Jamil: The one experience I’ll take from it more than anything else was the last task we were doing. When people were watching the show last night, they were asking, “Why were you crying? Were you crying because you were done?” Even though we knew we were done, I told them it wasn’t that. When I was on the last task, I pretty much knew we were finished. I was exhausted. My feet had been in the water for so long that once I got on those stilts, I started getting blisters. It was a bad experience, and I just wanted to be done, so I sat down for a minute and closed my eyes. I started talking to my Grandparents, and I said, “Please help me.” Right at that moment, it was the strangest thing – there was this cloud cover, so it wasn’t so hot anymore and there was this breeze, so I knew I was going to do it. So, I got on the stilts and I did it. That was actually what made me kind of emotional because I kind of felt like that was them saying to me, “We’re still here. We’re still pushing you.” That was the best experience I take from it.
The Yak: Did you do anything special to prepare for the race after you had learned you’d been cast this season?
Idries: We were both already pretty fit from going to the gym every day and running. I actually had run a 15K just 4 days before we left for the race. So, we stayed physically fit. We stepped it up a bit. We were putting weighted backpacks on our backs to simulate running the race with our actual backpacks. I had started training for my black belt before we left, so I kept doing that, and we started playing mental games as well. We’re use to working and having to be sharp with no sleep, but we started trying to step it up a bit. I would wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and I would play Sudoku, just to see how mentally sharp I could be with very little sleep.
Jamil: I think the swimming lessons and that training made us more proficient, as well.
The Yak: Did you get a chance to get close with any of the other teams, and have you kept in touch with them since the race ended?
Jamil: Yeah, we all keep in touch. We have a little group on Facebook, and we all chit chat with each other. We’re planning on doing a little reunion at the end. I think we actually got close with all the teams.
Idries: Everybody was awesome. I told everyone – not trying to be diplomatic – but everyone was really awesome. I felt pretty close to all of them to be honest with you.
The Yak: What’s next for the two of you?
Jamil: We’re just continuing to do what we were doing before. We’re working, and we’re enjoying that. The only other thing I want to take from this whole experience is it showed me how lucky we are, not only to do what we do on a daily basis, but to have opportunities like that. I do want to give back in some way, and we’re thinking of getting involved in some charitable activities. Other than that, we’re just living our lives and taking it one day at a time.
The Yak: Thanks for your time. We wish you both the best of luck!
Idries: Thank you!
Jamil: Thank you very much!