By People Staff
Updated December 01, 2020 06:36 PM
Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Married high school sweethearts Adrian, 40, and Dana Davis, 39, of Arlington, Texas, applied for The Amazing Race in hopes of having an adventure that proved being together for 25 years doesn’t have to be boring. Despite being eliminated at the show’s first stop in Chile, the medical salesman and market manager told PEOPLE that they found what they were looking for. –Carrie Bell

What motivated you to go on this show?Dana: The Amazing Race was truly symbolic of stuff we’d already overcome in life. We both work out and could do the physical. We love each other and have loyalty and communication. We’ve overcome obstacles. We felt we had all the skills it would take — and P.S., we have the chance to win a million. Adrian: And we’d get to travel around the world with CBS paying. Why not?

When you got there, was it everything you thought it’d be?Adrian: Well, we never dreamed about getting eliminated first. Dana: It’s certainly harder than you think it’ll be. We should have known better than to make a split-second decision. We devised a plan based on knowing our strengths and weaknesses and we diverted from the plan under pressure — a big no-no. It’s so easy to say what you would do from the couch. Adrian: We had decided that Dana would do all the height challenges because of my fear of heights and I would do all the grungy, heavy-lifting, eating bugs stuff. When our cab got lost, we fell behind and we made a bad decision. I jumped up on the cables and instantly knew I wasn’t supposed to be doing that challenge.

Was it fear or physicality that made you fail the clothesline task twice?Adrian: A combination of both. It was physical in that you have to balance yourself and hold your body weight, which was hard. However, the fear factor played a bigger part. When you’re terrified, it plays on your psyche.

Dana did the challenge after elimination and crossed successfully. Why?Dana: I needed to know but I beat myself up over it. Adrian: That was bittersweet. We knew that was what we were supposed to do. We’d rehearsed for months who should do what. When Phil suggested she try it, I knew she was going to make it across. She knew she would make it. We just kicked ourselves.

How well you took his inability to cross speaks to the length and state of your relationship.Dana: Had he not tried it again, I would have been upset. Before he did, at least 30 minutes lapsed and I was yelling across the canyon, “Do it again. This is crucial.” I just wanted him to try. When he tried a second time, I had this peace … He gave it his all and that makes it okay. Adrian: That has a lot to do with being together for 25 years. The Race wasn’t going to make us or break us. We wanted to win, but if we didn’t, we weren’t headed to divorce court.

How did your three kids react?Dana: Like teenagers … My daughter said she’ll tell her friends, “My parents got eliminated, but is your mom and dad’s picture in PEOPLE magazine?” Adrian: They were like, “C’mon dad. With all that noise you talk, you got up there and were scared as all get out.” They found my weakness.

What was the best thing about competing? Dana: Getting on a plane spontaneously with the person you love and one little backpack, not knowing where you’re headed, leaving all your cares behind and trying to win a million dollars is so exciting. It’s an adventure not many have had. Monty Brinton/CBS