Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Gauntlet is the 7th season of the MTVreality game show, The Challenge (at the time known as Real World/Road Rules Challenge). The season is directly subsequent to Battle of the Sexes. The Gauntlet featured 28 castmates competing in missions with an immunity life-saver awarded to the best individual performer. Each team would then select a player from their team to go into the Gauntlet elimination challenge. This challenge was held in Telluride, Colorado. It was hosted by Jonny Moseley.
Filming began in July 2003. A casting special, Real World/Road Rules Corral: A Guide To The Gauntlet was aired on September 22, 2003. The season premiered one week later on September 29, 2003, and concluded on January 26, 2004, with the Reunion special. This is the first edition of the Gauntlet series, with The Gauntlet 2 following in 2005–2006 and The Gauntlet III following in 2008.
Instead of a reunion special, Battle Scars - From the Gauntlet to the Inferno, a follow-up special aired on January 26, 2004 introducing the next season, Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Inferno with commentary by few of this season's contestants.
Before the final challenge, Coral was bitten by a spider, resulting in an allergic reaction. After struggling, she quit, penalizing the already lagging Real World team. The Challenge crew stepped in when they noticed Coral was having trouble breathing. She was airlifted to the nearest hospital where she was treated in the ER.
Trishelle suffered a bicycle accident and needed to be taken to the hospital. She suffered minor injuries, but was able to continue. She spent two episodes in bandages.
Sarah Greyson, who was eliminated from the Campus Crawl season of Road Rules, was seen as a weak link and nominated to the Gauntlet five times. She won the Gauntlet all five times, and ultimately shared in the overall win with the rest of the Road Rules team.
After Abram was defeated by Mike in the Gauntlet, he engaged in a threesome with Rachel and Veronica. Coral was invited, but declined.
Following a 48-minute-long competition, Sarah defeated Irulan in the Gauntlet. The Road Rules team then began to antagonize Irulan, who was seen as a bad sport and toxic personality the entire competition.
Mike and Trishelle entered a relationship on the challenge, creating tension between them, Coral, and the rest of the team. Mike would vote Coral to the Gaunltet multiple times over perceived weak link Trishelle.
Matt was a controversial figure during his time on the show, creating enemies in both Coral and Tonya, the former of whom was an integral part of him being voted into the Gauntlet.
Theo made the tie-breaking vote that sent Abram to the Gauntlet over Sarah.
Roni won the "Rolling on a River" mission over Mike.
Katie snapped at Veronica following her Gauntlet win, believing she played a role in her being voted in. This would lead to the mutual animosity displayed between the two on The Inferno.
Despite Theo and Adam's best efforts to have her sent home due to what they perceived as undesirable behavior before the final challenge, Veronica won the Eyesaver at the last challenge, "Dukes of Saturn", sparing herself from the last Gauntlet.
Adam was hellbent on eliminating Sarah from the show, playing a key role in sending her into her five gauntlets. Sarah claimed he was simply trying to vote off all the women on the team, which created friction between Adam and the girls.
After accidentally knocking Sarah off the rolling pin at the "Rolling on a River" mission, Laterrian refused to accept responsibility during the team deliberation, ultimately making Sarah seem to be at fault, which led to her being voted into the gauntlet once again.
The challengers were forced into an ice cream eating contest in which the ice cream was eventually mixed in with their own vomit and mucus as the challenge wore on.
Although they had an existing friendship after winning together on Battle of the Seasons, Mike voted Elka into the gauntlet, where, as the overwhelming favorite, she shocked everyone by slipping off of the ledge unprovoked, handing Cara the win.