Turns out the Eco-Challenge is a survivor after all. Adventure racing's biggest event was exiled in 2003 by its creator, Mark Burnett (who also gave birth to Survivor), who suggested at the time that he might scrap the event for good (SI ADVENTURE, May 12, 2003). Last week Burnett told SI that the 10th Eco-Challenge will be run next year.
"Everyone—my staff, cameramen and TV networks—has been asking me to bring back the Eco-Challenge," Burnett says. "This year I was really stretched with producing Survivor and all the other shows I've got going, so I decided to take a year off from the Eco-Challenge. I wanted to do something big for my 10th, but it's a really big production. It's like trying to shoot Desert Storm. We've got the resources to produce [the Eco] for next year." Burnett, who is in negotiations with all four major networks for a prime-time deal, says he will make an official announcement next month.
The reprieve is welcome news to pro racers. "This is fantastic," says Team Earthlink's Jason Middleton, who has competed in seven Ecos. "There was a lot of talk about our sport declining and how this was the beginning of the end. The return of Eco-Challenge is the validation that we need."