By People Staff
Updated April 21, 2009 12:00 AM
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Petite stuntmen Mark, 48, and Michael Munez, 51, fell short of winning The Amazing Race 14 thanks to a habit of getting lost and incurring penalties. The Los Angeles- and Maui-based brothers talked to PEOPLE.com about breaking the rules, Thai trannies and the Luke/Jen showdown.– Carrie Bell

You had a four-hour penalty and a speed bump. Was there ever a realistic chance of catching up?Mark: When we ended the leg before and realized the severity of the penalties – we were literally three-and-a-half hours behind – we were worried. But when we got to China, there were stuck in the airport for some time and then there was a task where you had to wait for the park to open which gave us optimism. We got a little bit closer to the pack when we got to that task and we went all out, 110 percent. Mike: We actually ended only a half hour behind the fourth team. Stranger things have happened on the race. We’d seen it before where went from first to last or first to out. So you can never give up because so much of it is based on luck.

You became penalty prone in the last two legs. Were you aware that you were breaking rules?Mark: When you are playing a game for a million dollars around the world, there’s so much going through your mind and your body is moving like a maniac. Everything happens in the moment. You don’t have time to look up the rules and see if it’s okay to do something. Sometimes we thought we were just stretching the rules; sometimes you just misread the clue. Mike: When we owed money to a cab, I didn’t want the police called on me. I did not want to land in a foreign jail. And as far as the bartering of our stuff to pay for our taxi fares, I didn’t want to ask somebody who has less than I do to give me something for free. I walked away from that knowing that I would do it again exactly the same way despite the penalties.

You both stand at 4 ft. 9 in. Overall do you feel your size was a help or a hindrance? Mark: When we met these 10 teams who all were six footers plus, it seemed like our size would be a disadvantage but I don’t think it hindered us too much. We had the optimism and physicality to stay in the game and with a little extra luck, we could have won it. Mike: I’ve never considered myself any different from anybody else. I grew up as a competitive diver and stuntman, and I’ve surfed big waves and size wasn’t an issue. If anything, it has always been an advantage as far as center of gravity and balance.

Settle the debate: Did you know they were trannies on the karaoke bus?Mike: I loved the fact that they emphasized my comment that they were really pretty girls. I could see why would think we didn’t know, but it was pretty obvious … that they were trannies. I was thinking to myself, ‘These guys are six feet tall. These are not women.’ But our task was to be entertaining and they were the judges so it didn’t matter who they were, we were going to butter them up and be all smiles and play along. Mark: They could have been aliens and we would have still tried to have fun with them. We had a lot of ground to make up on that leg because we left our bags so we gave it our all so that they would pass us through.

Did you witness the fighting between the sisters and Margie & Luke? Mark: We had no idea what happened until we saw it last night on TV. It’s part of the game. You do whatever you can for a million dollars and to get an advantage. Every couple at times was nice during our down times and very competitive and stressed when racing. That was part of the game, not a personality thing.

As stuntmen, was there anything you feared on the Race? Mark: The only thing I was not looking forward to was an eating challenge in a foreign country with some weird foreign food. But we never came across that. Mike: I had never bungie jumped before and right out of the gate we had to do that 722-ft jump. I had second thoughts, but I knew I just had to do it. The only thing going through my mind was how did James Bond do that kind of jump and I remembered it was a swan dive so I swan dived. I ended up loving it.

You are both fathers. Anything your kids are embarrassed about seeing you do on TV?Mike: I have seven grandkids between the ages of 8 and 16 and they’re like, ‘Grandpa, how come you didn’t do this? I would have done that.’ They are like everyone who watches the show and thinks they would have done it better than you. Mark: My kids were happy to see me take a shot. I’ve got 18- and 21-year-old boys. They’re both athletes so they have that competitive edge. They know what it’s like to compete and want to win.

Mark, you said you hoped the Race would help you and your brother work on communication issues. Do you feel like you accomplished that?Mark: Definitely. We have worked and played together all our lives, but as you get older and have kids and work, you see each other less. We pretty much lived with each other for a month and it was an eye-opener. You discover little personality things, but it definitely helps make a bond. Anytime you can spend that crazy amount of time around the world with a family member you should do it. Mike: We have always had a tight family. It confirmed to me the fact that Mark is very solid and reliable. You can’t beat reliable. I know how Mark is going to be and he is a good brother. This just reaffirmed those things for me. I would travel and work with him anytime and every time.

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