‘The Amazing Race’s’ Marcus: ‘Whoever wins probably should send Michael and me a thank you’

Marcus and Michael Craig were one of the strongest teams on “The Amazing Race 34,” never finishing lower than sixth place (on the first leg) and winning three legs. But the military brothers had been having a tough go with the Roadblocks, which finally caught up to them on the first part of the second Mega Leg. Marcus was flummoxed by the Picasso Roadblock and the duo fell far enough behind that they were never able to catch up over the remaining leg and a half in Spain.

We caught up with Marcus (Michael was unavailable) to find out how far behind they were, why they chose the arch Detour and more.

Gold Derby: You went out in last week’s episode, but your demise really started two weeks ago with that Picasso Roadblock. Is it rougher watching it play out over two episodes instead of one?
Marcus: That’s the first time I’ve been asked that question. A hundred percent it is because it’s like I know what’s coming, I know what’s happening and my inability to complete that puzzle was the reason we were eliminated. I was like, “Gosh.” People were like, “You’re last. Are you gonna come back? Is Emily’s knee gonna recover?” I fielded those questions for a week, so yeah, that was pretty bad.

Gold Derby: How long did that Roadblock take you?
Marcus: I can’t recall how long I was there doing the Roadblock, but I know that we left there about 45 minutes after Emily and Molly.

Gold Derby: You still saw the twins at the fish.
Marcus: Yeah, we made up some ground. We saw them at the fish. And then we left there about 30 minutes after them. So we were like, “OK, we closed the gap by about 15 minutes,” so we were still hopeful on the drive to Ronda. I think we actually executed that drive pretty well, but when we got to Ronda, we valeted the car at the hotel. You have to find a tour guide, but there was a woodcarver and we saw the bright yellow and red “Amazing Race” clue, so we ran to him first and we saw there was one clue and somebody was like, “That’s not your clue.” So we ran to the tour guide and open it up and it’s the Detour: Bend Over Backwards or Dress for Success. But when we were at the woodcarver, below there was where the tightrope was happening and we saw Emily and Molly doing the tightrope. So when we read the Detour clue, we realized neither one of these things is a tightrope, they must be doing the Roadblock, we still have to do a Detour, that’s probably it for us.

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Gold Derby: Interesting. But you didn’t think you lost time going there, right?
Marcus: No, I didn’t think we lost that much time, but if we have to do a Detour and a Roadblock, and they’re doing the Roadblock — and only one team was there, so that means the other three teams are already gone — we couldn’t fathom a way where we could go run and do a Detour, regardless of which one we chose, and do this Roadblock and beat them to the Pit Stop. Reality started to set in at that point. … The edit was crazy. We had conversations afterward, but when [the twins] were lost, they were standing right in front of the building for Dress for Success. And talking to them afterward, I think their Detour was, like, 15 minutes or so. In hindsight, should we have chosen the other Detour? Perhaps. I don’t think it would’ve changed anything.

Gold Derby: Do you know how far behind you were?
Marcus: I actually don’t know that, but I know Michael and I spent about an hour building that arch. [Laughs] Definitely not the place to be!

Gold Derby: Why did you choose the arch, especially when you saw them at the tightrope and knew you were last?
Marcus: Some of it was a conversation Michael and I had. We can go accessorize the dancer lady or let’s just build something. The edit made it look like a snap decision. It was like, let’s go build this and have fun building something. Let’s go build the arch and it was difficult, but after we completed it and it stood up, we were amazed it didn’t fall, it didn’t collapse. We actually posed and took some pictures in front of the arch before we continue on.

Gold Derby: It’s safe to say even if you had gotten it right the first time, you probably wouldn’t have caught up to them.
Marcus: No, from first check to second check, that might have been another 10 or 15 minutes. We took some things down and ensured the rocks were there, but I don’t think it was enough time even if we had gotten the first check.

Gold Derby: We’ve seen Emily’s problematic knee and you guys have said, “We can beat them in a footrace if we catch up to them.” Was that still in the back of your mind until you saw them on the tightrope?
Marcus: Because of the situation and Emily struggling with her knee, it was partly about her knee, but it was more about they were the team in fourth place. They were just the next team in front of us. We thought we could catch any team and beat them in a footrace, but we just analyzed the situation. We don’t think with the tasks there’s enough time to make that happen.

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Gold Derby: A lot of the legs are linear and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of room for a shake-up, especially on a Mega Leg, and I think that’s also a symptom of COVID. Was that frustrating, knowing that because you struggled so much on the first task, you can’t catch up unless someone also struggles that much?
Marcus: I try not to be upset at anything that production created for the show because we’re here. We’re fortunate and blessed enough to be cast on the show, so the tasks are what they are. We wanted a Roadblock [in Ronda] to be similar to Ducati, where everybody’s here and Emily gets there in, like, eight place and leaves second. We were hoping for that situation. That situation didn’t come. [Laughs]

Gold Derby: Everyone got the flags on their first try.
Marcus: I don’t think everyone got it on the first try. I think that was for the edit. [Laughs] But we have to create drama. “The girls are trying to make their way to the Pit Stop and they’re struggling, Michael and Marcus are running fast down some hill, getting to the Roadblock, he gets it on his first try. Are they gonna go past him?” But no, he didn’t get it on his first try.

Gold Derby: You guys had been struggling with the Roadblocks. Michael did the rappel but forgot the keys. Do you think that was fatigue catching up to you guys?
Marcus: Let’s see. I’m trying to think through all the Roadblocks.

Gold Derby: There was the rugby one and the cart one. You guys got there early.
Marcus: We got there second, right after Luis and Michelle. I didn’t see that one as a struggle. Based on the clue — build a sturdy cart that you have to take to the Pit Stop — in our minds, in Michael’s mind, we thought there’d be a penalty or something for showing up at the Pit Stop and your cart not being intact. Michael was more concerned at that time with making sure the cart didn’t fall apart and he succeeded in that. When we got there, the only two carts that were whole were the twins’ and ours. Everybody’s cart fell apart at the Pit Stop. I think it was more, like, what’s the risk you’re going to take? Are you gonna put one screw in everything like Luis or whatever as long as the guy gives you the clue and you can leave? Or do I take the time to build it right the first time and go from there? I don’t see that one as a struggle. I’m not upset about how Michael approached that one, but, yes, the rugby one, that was a struggle. But it was more of a struggle because I don’t kick things. I do sports — football, throwing the ball, catching the ball, running the ball, tackling people, playing basketball. I don’t play soccer, so I don’t kick. Definitely a struggle!

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Gold Derby: Have you played rugby since then?
Marcus: Absolutely not. [Laughs] If I do, I’m just gonna take my frustration out and run the ball and run people over.

Gold Derby: You weren’t the only team, but you guys had some navigation trouble too. What was the worst one you went through?
Marcus: The worst one was in Toulouse. And it was really just the one decision. I wanted to go one way on the highway and Michael wasn’t assertive enough in saying, “No, I think it’s this way.” So that one turn, once we realized it was wrong, we started a stopwatch, like how long is this gonna take? We were battling through traffic for 40 minutes, so it was surprising to me that — obviously there struggles at the Roadblock itself — but we were in traffic for 40 minutes and we still got there right as Luis and Michelle, and Derek and Claire pulled up. So even with the struggle, it wasn’t that bad, but the Roadblock was the Roadblock. [Laughs] Looking at all the teams in the race, it doesn’t show Luis and Michelle having struggles and I don’t think they necessarily struggled. But out of the teams that remain, who is the best navigationally, it’s probably the twins.

Gold Derby: What do you think of the final four?
Marcus: I feel like that’s a loaded question. [Laughs] They’re gonna hate me for saying this, but I absolutely believe it. Whoever wins probably should send Michael and me a thank you. [Laughs] I think Phil [Keoghan] asked us Leg 2 or 3 who do we think are the threats. We gave him two of the four teams that are still in. We recognized something early in them and it’s probably not the two you’re thinking… so I’m not surprised that two of them are there. There’s one team that I thought probably isn’t as strong as the remaining teams and another team, I think, is more lucky than good.

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