Mark and Bill in the International (Philippine) press: The Adventures of Mark and Bill: A lifetime's memories of 'Amazing Race'
REYMA BUAN-DEVEZA, abs-cbnNEWS.com | 10/21/2008 7:32 PM
Best buddies Mark Yturralde and Bill Hahler were the third team to be eliminated on America’s popular show “The Amazing Race (TAR).” As a result, their friendship is now more solid than ever.
In an exclusive phone interview with abs-cbnNEWS.com, Mark and Bill said that wining or losing the race was not as important as the experience they had in joining the game together.
“Yeah, I will say our friendship is more solid than it ever has been before. Bill and I are great friends and our friendship is more important than any of this,” Mark said.
Mark said that whatever happens in the race stays in the race; they already put behind them whatever bad experiences they had during race. They would rather recall the great things they did together.
Bill revealed that as friends, he and Mark had been through stressful situations. In the case of TAR, Mark and Bill are just thankful that they solved their problems without whining and yelling at each other.
Before the start of the show, Mark and Bill (both comic book afficionados) were determined to be the most strategic team ever to compete the race. The two have been friends for over 23 years.
They first met at a science fiction club and they have been bonding over their love for comics and games ever since. Mark even says that he "wears geek like a badge of honor."
The long-time friends also shared some of their most memorable moments they had in TAR. The hardest challenge for them was climbing down a cargo net (in the "Soft Way Down" challenge); the easiest challenge in their view was the one where they were tasked to find the right container (the "Dock It" challenge).
“The one when we were climbing down the cargo net in Salvador, [I thought] 'This is almost impossible. How could this be happening?' It was just such a great feeling to be just doing this crazy thing in this very beautiful day; and running around Bolivia with feathers on and [riding] on a wooden bicycle was another crazy thing. So those are the memories that will stay with me forever,” Mark said.
“I think we really had an easy time with the container challenge. First of all we did a pretty good job, thinking past and processing information quickly. The hardest, I guess--probably for me--was climbing down the cargo net even though I really enjoyed it. It was still pretty physically demanding and tiring and a little scary. I would say that was the hard one,” Bill added.
Dubbed as the “Nerds", Bill and Mark said that they really enjoyed the “Dock It” challenge, since they are both computer enthusiasts and really love playing computer games and puzzles.
In "Dock It," the various teams had to travel by barges to a nearby port and search for a container hidden in the shipyard. At the port, they needed to use a computer to scour a database until they find the same unique serial number listed in their clue. After finding the number, the teams had to use the corresponding four-letter code to locate the section of the shipyard where their container was located. Once they located their container in the section, they would find their clue inside.
In "Soft Way Down," teams made their way to an outdoor elevador known as Elevador Lacerda and climb down a cargo net to the street 240-feet below.
No one to blame
Joining TAR meant that only one team will be declared the winner. But when Mark and Bill lost their chance to complete the race did they ever blame each other?
“We pretty much decided ahead of time that we were gonna go do this and if we made a decision as a team, then that’s the way team lands. And you know? We are both part of that team and if I made a mistake in pointing at the cab, and say, ‘lets go get in that cab,’ then that’s the team’s mistake… We didn’t really sit around and point fingers at each other," explained Bill.
The team was eliminated when they decided to ride a cab during a detour going to third pit stop. Mark explained that when they saw Terence and Sarah’s team ride a cab they followed and got into a cab, too.
However, unlike the comic book geeks, newly dating couple Terence and Sarah reread the clue in the taxi. The realized that the clue required them to travel on foot. They returned to Plaza Murillo in order to correctly follow the clue and walked to Mercado de las Brujas instead.
Mark and Bill on the other hand rode the cab all the way to Mercado de las Brujas, completely oblivious to their mistake and the potential penalty they faced. Bill now realizes that they made the mistake of changing their game plan: they had earlier promised to carefully and repeatedly read each clue.
“We had promised ourselves was that we will read the clue repeatedly, we will do it at least twice, preferably three times. But we were just in such a state running around that we broke that promise to ourselves and as a result, we got the penalty.
The two said TAR definitely changed their lives: they are not only more popular but are now able to appreciate the things they have in their lives.
“The race absolutely changes your life. You get to go and see places that you’ve never seen. You get to see how people lived. When I came home to my beautiful wife and my kid, I saw that everybody is happy and healthy. I realized I have a great job. I realized that I’m really blessed and privileged,” Mark said.
“On the race you meet a lot of people, running along; they could turn their back on you, they could lie to you but they never do. Everybody we encountered were very kind. It was really an encouraging thing to see that no matter where you go there are people -- who are basically good people,” Bill adds.
Mark and Bill added that they now enjoy the fact that a lot of their friends or acquaintances from the past are giving them a call and sending messages via the Internet.
"I'm getting a lot of e-mails and contacts from people I haven’t talked to in a long, long time. I'm really enjoying that. I’m really enjoying hearing from my old sixth grade teacher and hearing from my best friend when I was in fifth grade. They are saying ‘hey I saw you on TV, I’m really glad that you’re doing so well, best of luck and I really hope you’re doing great.’ It’s just overwhelming that everybody wants to talk to you and saying like ‘wow I’m so proud of you’ and ‘I’m so happy for you’ that’s so great,” Mark said.
Great experiences come with great lessons. When asked of what they thought was the most important lesson they’ve learned from competing in the race, Mark replied: “I say the most important thing I’ve learned on the race is that you live in a moment; that you really learn to experience things that you will value. You will appreciate what you have. “
Bill added: “I will say that there were two lessons. One is that if you treat people with respect and you asked them nicely people will always help you. The other lesson I learned is that details are important."
The two are in unison that the team of Sarah and Terence, whom they became close with while they where in Bolivia, might end up winning the race.
“We knew when we were out of it. We kinda say ‘Boy I hope that Terence and Sarah can make it all the way' But beyond that we cannot really say,“ said Bill.
The two who ended their journey in Bolivia are now busy with their normal lives – working and spending time with their love ones.
Mark said that he’s tired of being fat--the reason why he’s trying to get in better physical shape. The fact is, he already finished his first 100-mile bike ride a couple of weeks ago. He is currently training for Roadmaster K2 in New Zealand while Bill, who is now in San Diego, Moscow, is busy with his work and taking care of things around his house.
"The Amazing Race 13" is the 13th season of the adventure-reality television series "The Amazing Race.”
TAR features 11 teams of two, each with a preexisting relationship, who will be traveling 30,000 miles across five continents in 23 days. They compete for a US$1 million prize.
The show features five teams consisting of couples who are married or dating; four teams who are friend; and two teams made up of family members.
The series is part of the fall line-up for 2008-2009 season and premiered in US on September 28.
Filming for "The Amazing Race 13" lasted for 23 days and spanned across several countries including Brazil; Bolivia; Russia; India; Cambodia; Kazakhstan and New Zealand.
Catch the primetime telecast of "The Amazing Race 13" on Studio 23 every Tuesday at 8:30 p.m.LINK