The Amazing Race Canada

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A foot race to the finish. Courtesy of CTV

Sask. Pride with Lavoie sisters

Despite my dislike of reality TV shows, The Amazing Race Canada is an exception because it’s more exciting than most shows, with much less drama and manipulation. Instead of back-stabbing another individual, for the most part, not only do most teams feel bad putting another at a disadvantage, often opting not to, unless doing so will enable them to continue racing, but many teams have a tendency to help each other, even when it may limit their own success. Additionally, the show does an excellent job of showing off Canada’s diverse culture and beautiful landscape.

Eleven weeks ago, the seventh edition of the Amazing Race Canada began with 10 teams of two departing from Toronto on the experience of a lifetime. Throughout all 11 legs, these individuals traveled to seven out of 13 Canadian provinces and territories – including a leg in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan – and competed in various difficult physical and mental challenges. As the show progressed, pressure increased and the stakes rose as participants were eliminated and the remaining individuals got one step closer to the grand prize – a once-in-a-lifetime trip around the world for two, $250,000, and the new Chevrolet Blazer RS. Similar to other editions, this one also had its own unique collection of victories, frustrations, tensions, disappointments, second chances, and memorable moments. At the same time, there were also multiple new elements, such as the blind one-way, a cooking face-off and most excitingly, the first Saskatchewan team

The Lavoie sisters, Lauren (U of R alumnus) and Joanne ( a current student),made history, becoming the first team to represent Saskatchewan. Although for the majority of the race these two women were considered as the underdogs, being from a small prairie province, they proved they were a much bigger threat than many initially thought. Despite the challenges and stress they faced, the Lavoie sisters remained fairly calm, worked well together and fought with everything they had, which enabled them to push out seven other teams to make it to the finale and compete as one of the top three teams, alongside James and Anthony and Sarah and Sam. From the very beginning of the race, the Lavoie sisters have been the favourite of many Saskatchewanians, myself included.

A big shout-out to Lauren Lavoie for answering my questions:

How did you prepare both physically and mentally for the race?

We went to the gym a bit more frequently, but honestly the race isn’t something you can really train for in a traditional sense. You are pretty much ready for the race as is, it’s your relationship that needs to be strong as well as your body. So Joey and I just made sure we were ready and close, that’s all it came down to. No one can prepare you for that race, it’s something you have to live through to really understand.

In episode three, you took advantage of the blind one-way and felt “it was the best decision you made all day,” do you still agree? Would you have still done that if it was not blind?

It was gameplay. As much as we are Canadians and we are nice, we weren’t there to make friends. We had just been in the bottom two, so it was crazy to not take advantage of a chance we had to get ahead of any team. Trish and Amy just happened to be the only team that we knew was behind us with full certainty. It was never anything personal, it was [about] making sure our race continued. I would do it again for sure, I also think we would have done it if it was not blind. We never tried to hide that we did it, and a few legs later we talked with the moms about it. No hard feelings.

In your opinion, what task was the most challenging or difficult for you? Why?

For me personally, it was probably the math challenge in Kitchener. I’ve never been strong in math, and seeing that challenge broke my heart. I knew I was going to have to rely fully on Joey and I felt terrible that I wasn’t able to be helpful in any way. Joey did so well though in that moment so I am really proud of her for getting us out of there.

Do you feel like competing as sisters was a strong factor in your success? How has this experience impacted your relationship?

It definitely is a huge factor. We know one another so well. It’s easy to support and work with someone that you’ve known your whole life. The race has just made us stronger in our relationship and as people. I don’t thing there is a harder test on a relationship that exists, and I like to think we’ve done very well with it.

In leg six, you visited Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and it was awesome seeing you check in with the Saskatchewan flag raised high behind you. How did returning to compete with in your home province affect your overall confidence and energy?

We needed to see Sask. so badly by that point. It was beyond comforting to see street signs we knew and places we’ve been a few times as we drove through the city. It was also bittersweet because we knew how close to home we really were at that point and we definitely were missing our family. It was a nice boost though to be in the prairies, I missed our skies a lot at that point.

What was your favourite place that you visited during the race and why?

For me it was Wolfville. I had never been to the east coast before and it didn’t let me down at all. The people were brilliant, and the landscape is breathtaking. We felt the most at home on that leg out of anywhere (apart from Sask.) in the entire race. It was also the leg where we locked in our spot in the finale, which is a moment we will never forget.

Was the race as tough as you initially anticipated, or more so?

The race is so much harder than you can ever anticipate. It breaks you down completely and ultimately shapes you into something new. The flight, the travel, the lack of sleep coupled with the race challenges really are overwhelming at times. You just have to keep perspective and take it one step at a time, otherwise the race will catch up to you quicker than you anticipated and have you heading home.

Have you been keeping up with the show on TV? How does it feel watching yourself?

We’ve watched every episode. Sometimes just with family and sometimes we’ve had large viewing parties. It’s a bit surreal to watch, but it’s been a very positive experience. It’s also been really enjoyable to see what other racers were up to. You really don’t have time to see what others are doing on the race so it’s been cool to follow their journey as well!

What was the most important thing you learned from your time on the race?

The most important thing I learned was that making mistakes is not the end of the world. Time and time again we failed at tasks and it always seemed to come together in the end. We learned more from our mistakes in the race than anything else. I also learned that you really need to stop second guessing yourself and just go for it. It doesn’t matter if something looks difficult or you might look silly doing it, go for it. Life is too short to second-guess even a moment of it.

What was your best, or favourite moment from your time competing in The Amazing Race Canada?

Some of my favourite moments were just goofing off with other teams, or the crew. The race really is a family, so there are so many little memories that I’ll treasure forever. As far as pivotal moments, I really did love the zipline in Kamloops. It was such an incredible task very early on and it really made me realize the insanity of the journey I was on. I also think getting through the apple challenge was a brilliant moment as well.

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