updated 05/09/2011 AT 10:00 AM ET
•originally published 05/09/2011 AT 10:50 AM ET
When LaKisha and Jennifer Hoffman signed on for season 18 of The Amazing Race, the Chicago sisters had a talk about their plans.
“We decided if we were going to run the race again, we’d run it to win,” says Jennifer Hoffman, 26. “We were definitely ready for our a second chance!”
The sisters, who were standout athletic stars at the University of Louisville, knew that they’d have to rely on their physical prowess to win the Race. (Witness the final leg, when the teams had to ride oversized tricycles against the wind along the Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys.)
“It was such a hard race,” Kisha, 30, tells PEOPLE. “From the start, it was like they had really stepped it up. And we’d get to the end of a leg, and there would be Phil Koeghan, giving us another clue and telling us to keep running!”
“You get so ready to go to a pit stop and rest,” says Jennifer. “And then to keep running, it really wears you down.”
Executive producer Jonathan Littman says that whoever wins the Race deserves the victory. “We’re not looking to trick them,” he says of the clues. “We want them to get where they’re going. We want it to be challenging, but also fun for the participants and for the viewers.”
So was it fun for the Hoffmans? “Absolutely,” says Kisha. “It was really the experience of a lifetime. We made a lot of friends, met some good people.
“It was awesome,” interjects Jennifer. “And winning is the most awesome feeling!”