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USA Insider Race to Survive: Alaska

Meet The Teams On 'Race To Survive: Alaska'

"Race To Survive: Alaska" promises to be the most intense competition ever. So, who is brave enough to take on the challenge? 

By Tyler McCarthy
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USA Network will play home to the latest hardcore survival competition series, “Race To Survive: Alaska,” which pits teams of two against both each other and the unforgiving Alaskan wilderness. The challenge seems so intense that many are likely wondering who in the world would dare brave such a task, even for a $500,000 grand prize.

How to Watch

Catch up with Race to Survive: Alaska on the USA Network app.

Overall, “Race To Survive: Alaska” boasts a pretty eclectic group of contestants, all of whom have distinct backgrounds that make them uniquely well-equipped to handle the physical and mental game ahead of them. There aren’t a lot of people on the planet who can handle such a dangerous survival journey at the break-neck speed this demands, but those who can are here. 

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So, here’s a look at the eight teams who are taking on the first-ever race of its kind across every piece of unforgiving terrain the state has to offer.

Jeff Leininger and Hunter Leininger

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At 53 and 21 respectively, this father and son duo sits at the extremes of age in the competition with Jeff being the oldest contestant and Hunter being the youngest. However, don’t let their age fool you because they’re both highly qualified for a race like this. Jeff has been adventuring for most of his life and his son is following in his footsteps. Hunter was the youngest ever racer of this type at just 6 years old. Now, they’ll combine his dad’s wisdom with his energy and speed in the hopes of edging out their robust competition. 

Robin Moore and Elizabeth Killham

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These two friends could have bonded over their respective medical professions. Robin, 45, is an ER doctor while Elizabeth, 36, is a veterinarian. However, they actually bonded over their mutual love of adventure. They met while on a skydiving trip in Egypt and realized they shared a passion for pushing their physical limits. Robin is a licensed pilot who has ascended the seven summits while Elizabeth has backpacked all over the world. They have all the skills necessary to survive this race, but they hope their daredevil tendencies will give them an advantage over others who want to play it safe. 

Brett Gatten and Esther Sanderlin

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Brett, 46, met Esther, 40, on a dating app shortly after he moved to Alaska. The two recent divorcees quickly bonded over their mutual love of the outdoors and have spent the majority of their two-year relationship fishing, hunting and practically living on snowmobiles as they test their survival skills for fun. They’ll keep that going for six weeks as they battle the elements and trade with their survival hobby skills to gain strategic positioning to win. 

Wilson Hoogendorn and Oliver Hoogendorn

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Without a doubt, Wilson, 23, and Oliver, 25, have the most Alaska-specific knowledge of anyone in the competition. They are Inupiaq brothers who come from Nome, Alaska. They too have a propensity for doing things no one has ever done before, like being the first Native Alaskan team to summit Denali in 13 days or skiing down the highest peak in North America in one day. They’re also very in touch with their roots, hunting game in the state with traditional methods, tools and weapons they carve themselves. When they’re not braving the elements for fun, they’re braving them for work. Oliver is a commercial fisherman and Wilson is a gold diver. Since the competition is basically in their backyard, they hope the lack of surprises the terrain holds for them will prove to be all they need to dominate the competition. 

Cason Crane and Bella Crane

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Cason, 29, is taking on the competition with his younger sister, Bella. They’re Ivy League graduates but there’s way more to them than book smarts. The New York-based pair comes from a family of adventuring enthusiasts and have pursued similar passions individually. Bella completed the Pacific Crest Trail solo and Cason made history by being the first person to plant the LGBTQ+ Pride Flag on all seven summits. They hope their intelligence and love of adventure will help them pivot their natural tendency to be competitive with each other and focus it on their fellow contestants.


Max Djenohan and Christian Junkar

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Both Max, 33, and Christian, 25, have made careers out of their love for the outdoors. Christian is an experienced ice climber who works as a mountain guide while some may recognize Max from the show “Naked and Afraid,” where he spent 156 days on four different continents with bare minimum supplies. They’re both highly opinionated survivalists who hope their skills will set them up for success to make the long, fast-paced races less taxing than their less savvy competition. 

Genevive Walker and Favia Dubyk

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These two women have a lot to prove to themselves and the world going into this competition. Genevive, 33, and Favia, 34, met at a rock-climbing festival and realized they share a passion for creating space for Black female climbers. Favia, a cancer survivor, is a professional rock climber while Genevive is a certified instructor. However, their athleticism doesn’t stop there. Favia previously held the 100-meter dash record at Harvard for seven years and currently works as a practicing physician. Her partner, meanwhile, is a wilderness first responder. Not only do they live for this exact kind of adventure, but they both hope to show the world what women like them are capable of by climbing their way to the top. 

Hakim Isler and Justice Norman

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Hakim, 45, is a skilled psy ops Army veteran who owns a survival school where he teaches vets who have PTSD primitive survival skills. This made him a perfect partner for Justice, 38, who met him while teaching a course on how to perceive things without the use of their eyes. The martial arts enthusiasts hope to use their unique, minimalist survival skills to travel light and make their way through the many challenges Alaska has to offer faster than everyone else in the competition. 

Tune in on Monday, April 3 at 11 p.m. ET/PT on USA Network for the "Race to Survive: Alaska" premiere. Catch more survival shows on Peacock now.

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