Darren McMullen and Tristan Dougan have survived the intense heat of South East Asia and emerged as the victors of The Amazing Race Australia: Celebrity Edition. Their win will go down as possibly one the most heartfelt finales in franchise history.
The uncle-nephew duo walked into the competition with high hopes of taking home $100,000 for their chosen charity, Feel the Magic. But when the duo made it to the end of the race, they decided to support three deserving charities, and split the money three ways with the other teams in the finale. When Darren and Tristan broke the news to Emma Watkins and her sister Hayley, and Alli Simpson and her mother Angie, the three teams leapt onto the carpet, arms linked. Did we cry? Maybe so!
Praise for the team has spread far and wide, as Darren and Tristan restored some faith in humanity with their gesture. The pair spoke with The Latch following their win to tell us all about their decision to split the pot.
The Moment Darren and Tristan Decided to Split the Prize Money
Darren McMullen and nephew, Tristan brought an abundance of energy and laughs to this season of The Amazing Race Australia. They approached each task with a smile, sarcastic quip or familial banter that kept fans hyped about watching them each week. But no matter how difficult the task, the pair was incredibly dedicated to winning for their charity.
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Their choice to split the prize money was unexpected, but only made viewers more endeared to Darren and Tristan’s authentic approach to the competition. When we asked when and why they decided to share the cash prize, the pair attributed it to the other team’s shared dedication to their respective foundations.
“I think we spoke about [the decision] in bed the night before [the final],” Tristan said. “We discussed the two other teams as well and thought [about] what incredible competitors that they’ve been. And so [I] think Darren suggested that, you know, ‘Wouldn’t be amazing if we were the ones first in … we could split it all across three wonderful charities’.”
Darren mentioned that when he’d had conversations with the other teams in the days prior to the finale, he found himself moved to tears at Emma and Hayley’s story.
“We had a chance to kind of chat about their different charities and why they were doing it and how much it meant to them,” he said. “You know it was so tough, The Amazing Race. What you don’t pick up on the TV is just the extreme heat that you’re dealing with and the fact that you’re underfed and you’re under slept and your brain’s just not functioning at 100%.”
Seeing just how much the other team’s charities meant to them and experiencing the struggles of The Amazing Race for himself, Darren knew that if they made it all the way to the finale and walked away with nothing for their own charity, it “would have been devastating”. With that, the duo decided that if they won the Race, they’d split the prize.
“Thankfully that’s the way it panned out, because it wasn’t looking like that, to be honest,” Darren added. “It was the right thing to do.”
Why Darren and Tristan Chose Feel the Magic for Their Charity
It might have been Tristan’s debut reality TV stint, but it certainly wasn’t Darren’s first trip around the competition block. In fact, Darren’s even competed for Feel the Magic before, back when he was on Celebrity Apprentice. Chatting with The Latch, Darren shared more about the importance of the organisation and why it always has his continued support.
“Most of the money they raise is during these camps that they have every year, and they weren’t able to have the camps because it was COVID,” he explained. “It’s not like in Ronald McDonald House, these massive [charities] that just get millions and millions of dollars a year thrown at them.”
“Every single penny counts, and they’re the only charity in Australia that helps grieving children with the loss of their parents or siblings or parental guardians.”
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He gave us an insight into the reality that some children suffer through when they don’t have adequate support.
“Shockingly like, one in 20 kids have lost a parent, and that’s not even including parental guardians and siblings,” he said.
According to Darren, this loss can lead to an increased risk of mental health and substance abuse implications later in life.
“[Feel the Magic] gives every one of these children grief counselling to help them deal with one of the toughest moments of their life head on, and like an adult,” Darren said. “So it hopefully nips any issues in the bud, but more importantly than that, it gives them access to lifelong friends and peers that are going through exactly the same thing as them.”
“They’re only charity doing what they do.”
You can relive all of the heartwarming and heartstopping moments of The Amazing Race finale on 10 Play.
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