Amazing Race's Justin and Jennifer: It Was a "Huge Mistake" Not Biking Back
The No. 1 rule of The Amazing Race is to always read your clue — except Jennifer Young didn't have it on her. But instead of biking back to the start of the fish-delivering Roadblock, she chose to wait it out in the Malawian village, sealing her and brother Justin's fate. "I thought I had seen other teams in the same village, so I thought that we're all delivering to the same place and I'll wait for somebody. Yeah, no!" she tells TVGuide.com. "I found out later they were delivering to different places and there was another entrance to this village, so my plan did not work. ... After a while, I figured out that they must've already delivered or they went somewhere else to deliver, so I gotta get out of here." Find out how long she stood in the village — and how Justin and his fellow Racers did in the New York City Marathon.
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Let's start from the beginning: How did you forget to take the clue with you?
Jennifer: Well, in my head, I was thinking, "OK, you didn't do so hot the last time you got on a bike [in Indonesia], so let's eliminate all things possible off your body." That included my fanny pack, which had my clue in it. I handed it all to Justin and tried not to kill my passenger as we rode down the street. I'd read it before I left, but I didn't internalize everything, which was a huge mistake. Then I decided to stay there, which was another huge mistake. Plus, I just wasted a lot of time second-guessing myself —"What should I do? What should I do?" — when I should've just gone back to the beginning because that's where we always start and finish things.
How long did you stand there?
Jennifer: Oh, gosh! It must've been an hour or more. I had on a watch, but I guess I didn't realize when I started. It felt like a long time, but you never know. You worry about wasting more time if you do the wrong thing. ... I thought about going back the whole time. I went up to the main road, back down to the village, up to the main road, back down to the village. Then I just said, "Forget it! I'll just go all the way back."
You didn't think you would save time to go back so at least you knew what you had to do even if you didn't have to go back to the start?
Jennifer: No, because I thought, "What if the person is here in the village?" It said something about a bike master. You just weigh the odds and make the best decision you can under the pressure. I eventually did the right thing, but a little too late. ... I thought we were in last place, but when Justin said the team before us had left an hour ago, I was like, "Oh, my God! I'm so sorry!" I really lost track of time. I don't like standing anywhere for an hour, so I don't even know how that was possible for me. I'm not a "standing still" kind of person. I look back on it, like: How silly was this? Just go back to the beginning. It's my mistake and Justin's been really gracious about not rubbing it in and not making me feel like the worst sister ever.
Why did you walk the bike back?
Jennifer: Oh, no! I rode the bike. The only time I walked it was on those bumpy dirt roads and going down the hill to the village. But, you know, that's how it goes. If you walk at all, that's the confusion they like to show and that's all right. I rode a lot and that was the only way to get back. We were about two or three miles away.
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Justin, what were you thinking while you were waiting?
Justin: I knew she had a little trouble with the bike in Indonesia, but I certainly didn't think it would be an issue. Then time just continued to tick by. We started to see other teams come back, then Amani and Marcus finished the Speed Bump, and then I got a little nervous. [Laughs] At that point, I started to log the time. It just got to a point where it was ridiculous and I was like, "Either she's terribly lost or something bad has happened." So all I could do was just wait.
Did you know you had the clue with you?
Justin: No, I had no idea. One of the things they told us at the start of whole show was: "Read your clue." ... The way people lose is by not reading your clue. I know we read it, so I thought she was ready. I thought she ran into a stampede of wildebeests or there was an elephant roaming around, but when she told me, there was no time for questions. She did her best, but it was just something that happened, unfortunately. It was just time to go after that and we had a ton of time we had to make up if that was even possible.
A lot of people in your position would've freaked-out after finding out their partner just stood there. How did you stay so calm?
Justin: Because it took so long and because I didn't know what was going on, there really wasn't an opportunity for me to get frustrated or angry. If I was watching from the side, I would've been a little frustrated. We were in the middle of Malawi, I had no idea where she was. At first when other teams were there, I thought at least she was around other people, but it quickly moved from strategizing to me thinking about her safety.
Do you know how far behind Jeremy and Sandy you were?
Jennifer: I'm not sure. ... We may have seen one team going out as we were coming in [to the Detour], but we were focused on ourselves and trying to make up time.
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Your portrayal on the show did a complete 180 after the first two episodes and your huge fight. Did you guys actually not fight the rest of the time, or did they not show it?
Jennifer: We talked about what to do to function better. I came up with my plan, Justin came up with his plan, and it seemed to work out fine. There were a few "Don't say thats" and "Calm downs" but other than that, we kept moving.
Justin, you ran the marathon yesterday. What was that like?
Justin: It was incredible. We had a blast! It was a ton of fun. It was myself, Ethan, Liz, Marie, Sandy and Jeremy. We were raising money for Ethan's charity, Grassroot Soccer. ... There were funny moments where I ran into Jennifer and Cindy and Ernie, who were hanging out on the sides, at like Mile 18 and Mile 23, so they would run a part of it with me. So while we were running along, there were people on the side freaking-out, like, "Oh, my God! Those are the guys on The Amazing Race!" It was pretty wild, but it was one of the most incredible things I have ever done in my entire life. There was something so special and so beautiful about running the marathon. It was a great way to experience what New York was about.
What was your time?
Justin: I don't want to talk about it. [Laughs.] It was 5 hours, 14 seconds. I wanted to be under 4:30. I was going strong until Mile 15 and then my legs started cramping up, so it was downhill from there. ... It is a good time for a first marathon, and for this to be my first marathon, I really am a lucky guy. I had mentioned in passing to Ethan that I wanted to run a marathon and he was like, "Hmm, I might be able to help you out with that if you're willing to raise some money." I was like, "Sure!" ... We got together afterward at Pop Burger in Times Square, so we all watched [the episode] there. It was good. Even thought it was our departing episode, it was still a ton of fun to watch.
What are you up to now?
Jennifer: I am teaching in a charter school in Newark, which I love, and actively applying for my Ph.D. Like right now, the computer is open and waiting for me to click some more buttons.
Justin: I am working at Physicians Immediate Med, which is an urgent care and family medicine clinic north of Atlanta. I'm also applying for emergency medicine residency to start next year. Other than that ... it was training for the marathon. I hope to kind of continue these adventures that have gone on this year.