The show returns Sept. 21 on CBS and Paramount+ the next day.
Nobody from metro Atlanta has ever won CBS’s “The Amazing Race” and only two have made the finals over the first 33 seasons.
Newlyweds Glenda and Lumumba Roberts of Norcross hope to change that for the show’s 34th season, which debuts on CBS Wednesday, Sept. 21, and will be available the next day on Paramount+.
Glenda, an insurance adjustor, and Lumumba, a middle school teacher, readily acknowledge their height difference. Lumumba, 41, is 5 foot 7. Glenda, 42, is 6 foot 2.
And yes, Lumumba does resemble Kevin Hart. “He looks like him, he sounds like him,” Glenda said. And she said she has been compared to Serena Williams, though her skills growing up were on the basketball court, not the tennis court.
The couple met in 2019 at church, bonding over mutual respect for consumer advocate Dave Ramsey. He convinced her to meet at the Corner Bakery in Peachtree Corners to talk about Ramsey-related budgeting tips. “We never talked about Ramsey,” Lumumba said. But after seven-plus hours, they were still talking and he asked ― nay, demanded ―an actual date.
The couple married last year and until “The Amazing Race” this spring, their only international travel together was Jamaica for their honeymoon.
Lumumba has been an “Amazing Race” super fan for two decades. He just never had the right partner. He’d try to harass a sibling, a cousin and past female companions to audition but couldn’t convince anybody until Glenda came along.
“She was the right partner,” he said. “It was the right time in our lives.”
In preparation, they watched prior seasons, jotting notes on strategy. They learned to kayak ― just in case. They practiced rock climbing. And since “The Amazing Race” takes you to a world before the smartphone, the couple boned up on paper map reading.
Plus, being relatively older than most of the couples, they worked out so they would have the endurance to make it a month constantly traveling and being sleep deprived. They hope their time on earth will help them navigate the challenges the producers throw at them.
“We’d have bad relationships,” Glenda said. “We’ve lost loved ones in our lives. We’ve had things that have tested our resilience. We brought maturity and experience to the race. We had a lot of life without each other before we got together.”
Lumumba is not only an “Amazing Race” expert but he said he considers himself malleable to changing circumstances, a key to surviving the game.
“And my wife is extremely competitive,” he said. “I have complementary skills to her confidence. We are going to trust our instincts.”
This season made a few concessions to lingering COVID-19 concerns. They used a charter plane to reduce viral exposure and the teams didn’t travel quite as many miles as they have in pre-COVID seasons. The emphasis this year was heavily on Europe with stops in Germany, Italy, Austria, France and Spain. For the first time, “The Amazing Race” landed in Jordan.
The winners of the $1 million were crowned in Nashville.
IF YOU WATCH
“The Amazing Race,” season 34 debuts at 10 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, on CBS, with new episodes available the day after on Paramount+
Rodney Ho writes about entertainment for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution including TV, radio, film, comedy and all things in between. A native New Yorker, he has covered education at The Virginian-Pilot, small business for The Wall Street Journal and a host of beats at the AJC over 20-plus years. He loves tennis, pop culture & seeing live events.