Race to Survive: New Zealand Episode 7 Recap: Pulling an All-Nighter

Tyrie Mann Merrill and Ethan Greenberg on Race to Survive: New Zealand
Photo Credit: Brian Finestone/USA Network via Getty Images

Ready for another race? Well, you better be ready because there are no breaks on Race to Survive: New Zealand!

Last week, the racers completed the treacherous Race 3, which sent them spelunking into a cave of nightmares. For Race 4, they’re keeping things fully above sea level, but it’s still full of surprises. There’s no more 12-hour race clock, meaning the survivors were free to keep racing through the jungle in the cover of darkness. What could go wrong?

Here’s what went down on Race to Survive: New Zealand Episode 7, “Kahuranghi Coast.”

Race 4, Day 1

Race to Survive: New Zealand Episode 7
Photo Credit: Brian Finestone/USA Network

After Race 3 took out both the Ultramarathoners and the Cool Moms, only five teams remained. Slowly, we’re working our way down to a final three, and Race 4 introduced one of the toughest navigational challenges yet.

Race 4 is called Kahuranghi, and although there are no caves this time around, it’s just as bonkers. First, they have to navigate to a rocky cliffside and do something called “coasteering.” This is one of those activities that we never knew existed, but it’s basically like Ninja Warrior, except you’re on the side of a cliff above a bunch of choppy water.

After coasteering, the racers have to make their way into the jungle for miles and miles of bushwhacking. After a slight break from the forest and an optional food cache, the final zone is a forest maze with a ton of winding game trails. Only one path leads out to the Survival Crate.

As if this course wasn’t already complicated, they added an extra little caveat. Rather than having a 12-hour race clock, Race 4 has no time constraints. The racers are free to run into the night, and they can choose to camp whenever and wherever they want. It sounds dangerous, but that’s what these contestants love.

Another day, another injury

Ryan Stewart walking down a hill on Race to Survive: New Zealand
Photo Credit: Daniel Allen/USA Network

As Race 4 got started, everyone was feeling the pressure. With only five teams on the course, it’s much harder to stay out of the bottom.

Of course, the River Guides have been the team to beat, so Smokejumpers felt compelled to try to give them a run for their money, literally. They took off jogging down the beach, trying to create a good pace and put distance between the other teams.

Usually, the Hunters, Ryan and Bronsen would have been right there with them. Those three teams have been at the front of the pack throughout every race. However, for the first time this season, the Hunters were showing signs of struggling.

Ryan fell during Race 2 and hurt his knee. Occasionally, we’ve heard him comment about the knee, but for the most part, he’s been pushing through. In Race 4, all of the pain came creeping up on him, slowing their pace tremendously.

At this point, we’ve had three teams sustain injuries, ranging from concussions to sprains. With Ryan’s knee acting up, it’s starting to seem like the father and son-in-law duo could be the fourth team to leave with an injury. Couple that with the fact that this course allows the racers to run into the night. This seems like a recipe for disaster.

12 hours and counting

Kennedy and Nik on Race to Survive: New Zealand looking at a map
Photo Credit: Brian Finestone/USA Network)

For the first time on Race to Survive, the race clock ticked well past the 12-hour mark. Usually when the clock strikes that 12-hour mark, the racers have to stop where they’re at and camp out for the night. Instead, they had full control over whether or not they wanted to keep pushing.

This twist added an extra element of endurance to an already grueling race. No one wanted to be the first team to call it quits for the night and risk losing their place in the race. As nighttime came, the racers pushed on, regardless of how dangerous it was to bushwhack through the jungle in total darkness.

The Smokejumpers and the River Guides maintained a lead with Pauina and Creighton on their tails. In fourth place, the Hunters were slowly making their way through the course, all while trying to mitigate the pain of Ryan’s injury.

Last, but certainly not least, were the Oil Riggers. The Canadian duo opted for a slower pace during this race, noting that they wanted to stay safe throughout all of the obstacles of Race 4. With as many injuries that have happened this season, going slow and trying not to break a bone might actually be the smartest strategy.

Creighton’s killing spree

Creighton Baird crouching inside of a tent on Race to Survive: New Zealand
Photo Credit: Tim Williams/USA Network

Throughout this season of Race to Survive, Creighton has made it very clear that he’s motivated by food. He was the first person to track down goose eggs. He learned how to hunt for eels. This week, Creighton went on a full-blown killing spree.

As he and Paulina were making their way through the forest, he spotted the cutest little hedgehog, just chilling and minding his own business. Thanks to the pressures of this show, Creighton didn’t see an innocent forest-dwelling creature. He saw dinner, and he killed it, right there in cold blood.

Moments later, Creighton spotted another hedgehog. He killed that one too. Paulina couldn’t watch, and all of a sudden, their divorce started making more sense.

Eventually, the Divorcees caught up with the River Guides, something that rarely happens. Upon their arrival, Creighton revealed that he had killed four hedgehogs! Four. His backpack was covered in blood. Someone from PETA is probably somewhere filing a complaint right now.

After showing off his bag full of hedgehog corpses, he decided to walk down to the river and clean out their guts. Then, the unthinkable happened. An eel swam right up to Creighton, and he caught it with his bare hands. Truly, insane stuff.

We’ve seen a lot of triumphant moments so far on Race to Survive, but Creighton’s enthusiasm about catching the eel will go unmatched. New Zealand has changed this man.

The Smokejumpers cross the finish line

Ethan and Tyrie on Race to Survive: New Zealand
Photo Credit: Brian Finestone/USA Network

While the rest of the competitors decided to call it quits for the night, the Smokejumpers kept pushing on through the course. Who needs sleep when there’s a Survival Crate to push for?

Helping motivate the Smokejumpers was the fact that it was the death anniversary of Ethan’s father. Both Ethan and Tyrie said they were drawing on the strength from their departed loved ones to push forward in the race. It worked. In an incredible feat of athleticism, the Smokejumpers crossed the finish line in first place after traveling 25 miles in just over 20 hours.

As the first-place finishers, they got the first pick at goodies in the Survival Crate. They opted for a big box of kiwis. Would they have preferred a giant block of bacon? Probably. Either way, the Smokejumpers were on cloud nine thanks to their first-place finish. Meanwhile, the rest of the racers were scattered around the course, eating hedgehogs and nursing their injuries. Suddenly, it’s starting to look like the dynamics of this race are shifting.

Race to Survive: New Zealand continues on USA Network, Monday nights at 11/10c.