Todd and Anna might not fit into what you’d call a ‘typical’ hero mould, but these Amazing Race Canada (Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on CTV) contestants proved they’re just as inspiring as any firefighter, RCMP officer or volunteer out there.
Todd, a cancer survivor, and Anna, his girlfriend of four years, were advocates until the bittersweet end on Tuesday night. They may have been eliminated in Jakarta, Indonesia– following a lost taxicab and a blind U-Turn by Zainab and Monica–but their message of following your dreams and not letting anyone else tear you down–no matter what–remained as strong as ever.
We caught up with the frontrunners (how else do you describe a team that came in the Top 3 during the first three legs of the race?) fresh off their elimination to chat all about heroes, emotional wrecking points and that darned U-Turn.
Let’s start with the obvious question, what the heck went wrong?
Anna: It really comes down to that brutal U-Turn. There was the taxi getting lost off the bat, which we couldn’t really control, but we were confident we could make up the time. But then we got U-Turned and that set us back good. We were still close in the end despite having to do an extra almost hour of tasks. It was the U-Turn, at the end of the day.
When did you find out it was Zainab and Monica who U-Turned you?
Todd: We had a pretty good guess, because we didn’t think anyone else would, but then we found out for sure later on. We didn’t really think about it too much, we just knew we had to get the stuff done.
If you were in that situation do you think you would have U-Turned someone?
Todd: We were definitely going to since we were at the back, we would have U-Turned Dylan and Kwame just because we are competitive and it is a race. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to stay in.
Anna: Yeah we would have done it in a survival situation. If we had been near the top of the pack like they were I’m not sure we would have, we probably would have left it for teams at the back of the pack.
It’s probably hard to know what you’d do until you’re actually in that situation, right?
Has your definition of a hero changed?
Todd: Racing with all the other racers you get a bigger picture, there are many definitions of what being a hero is. It opens your eyes up a bit more to what people do to help communities and the world in general.
Anna: A hero can look so different. You don’t have to have this huge, heroic story. Heroes are everyday heroes who can look like a lot of different things. Just being joyful and kind is important to us. We want everyone to feel like they can be a hero, it doesn’t take much!
Did anyone on the race inspire you in particular?
Todd: Everybody was so great and they all inspired in different ways. Adam and Courtney and their love for each other. Or Dylan and Kwame putting themselves out there.
Anna: I was super impressed with the cheer girls. People have a stereotype about cheerleaders but they are the most incredible, selfless people. We were impressed with every team we raced with; they all had a lot to offer.
Were you on the race long enough to experience a real mental breaking point?
Anna: I was not calm, cool and collected, I’m the emotional wreck between the two of us. You could kind of see me start to slowly melt down as the episode went on. I think we stayed relatively positive right up until we got eliminated; we felt like we were going to fight until the very end. I was pretty emotional on the mat though; I was not ready to go.
Did it actually come down to a foot race in the end?
Todd: We were not far behind… maybe a minute max. It was pretty close.
Anna: We saw them getting into a taxi leaving that dance challenge and we were just trying to grab our own taxi so it was close.
Does that make it harder or easier, knowing it was so close?
Anna: Oh, harder. I was reliving the whole thing, like if we saved two minutes here, or two minutes there. If the taxi had just turned the right way… I relived it a lot of times.
Speaking of the taxi, have you guys ever seen anything as ridiculous as the traffic in Jakarta?
Todd: I’ve been to other similar places but nothing near that traffic. There was traffic everywhere. Motor bikes, mopeds just ripping right beside you; going in between cars. It was chaos. I’ve never seen anything like it.
Anna: Total chaos. It was a culture shock. But pretty cool to see something like that.
Overall, would you say you exceeded your expectations?
Todd: Definitely. I knew we could accomplish a lot of things, but you don’t realize how much–or beyond–you can go until you’re put in those situations. You’re not forced to do anything, you can take a time penalty but… yeah we definitely pushed our limits.
Anna: The first three legs we did super well. We were in the top three and had all three medals. We were quite confident after that. We were like, “Wow, we actually have a chance at this thing.” The second leg, when we won, was a highlight. But at the same time I knew Todd was an amazing competitor and he was amazing on the race.
Any regrets on using the Express Pass for the pie-eating challenge?
Todd: I don’t like pies and I don’t like blueberries.
Anna: Yeah, no that was a deal-breaker for Todd. He was not having that pie.
Who do you hope wins?
Anna: We’re big fans of Taylor and Courtney, the RCMP officers. They’re just super down-to-earth, super kind and calm under pressure—as their job would suggest.
Anything to add?
Todd: The reason we did the show is because we’re advocates of putting yourself out there, challenging yourself and doing the things you love.
Anna: We want people to embrace life to the fullest no matter what kind of difficulties they might be facing.