Matt Iseman: The scope of the show just keeps getting bigger. We received double the number of submissions from last year, and that was already a record for us. So many people want to compete that we had to add another city to our qualifying tour. And each city has at least four new obstacles, so every week is going to be something different.
Zap2it: Now that the show’s been on a few seasons, what changes are you seeing in the type of people who want to be on the show?
Matt Iseman: Our competitors have always had diverse backgrounds, but this year, we’re seeing a ton of incredibly high-level athletes coming out. We’ve got world champion wakeboarders and martial artists, professional rock climbers and even multiple Olympians. Of course, we’ll also have dozens of competitors in their 50s and above, like “Grandpa Ninja” Kelvin Antoine, tackling the course. So we really are going to see people from all walks of life.
Zap2it: What has proven to be the essential qualities of successful “ANW” competitors?
Matt Iseman: The athletes who fare the best out here have a phenomenal blend of agility, stamina and strength, especially in their upper body and grip. But the most overlooked quality is mental fortitude. These athletes have to adapt on the fly and maintain focus through every step on this course. The best of the best out here avoid the mistakes that can end your run.