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It took three countries, seven provinces, 16 cities and more than 50,000 kilometers of racing, but first responders Courtney and Adam finally won a leg of the race on this season of The Amazing Race Canada: Heroes Edition. And it was a pretty darned good leg to win.

The engaged couple fought hard in Alberta, first with a complex memory challenge, then with a physical Road Block involving dogs and skis, and then in a souvenir-finding challenge that tested their memory and endurance when they had to dart in and out of shops to find important trinkets from previous legs. In the end their perseverance, determination and organizational skills paid off and they catapulted over teams Taylor and Courtney and Kwame and Dylan for the only first-place finish that counts: the finale.

We caught up with Courtney and Adam hot on the heels of their big win to find out how the victory impacts their wedding, what their biggest emotional challenge on the race was, and the key to getting through something so stressful with your number one squeeze.

What was it like watching the show last night?

Adam: It was surreal. We’ve been waiting for a long time for this episode to come out. To watch it all play out the way it did and to see the other teams’ struggles and to see what Court had to do in that navigation tower, that was amazing. I didn’t realize how stressful it was for her.

When did you know you could take this thing?

Courtney: Going into Banff, in the stores, and realizing that Taylor and Court were still there. It kind of lit a fire under our butts when we were cruising through those stores and Adam was just sniping all those little items. It was like we turned on our wheels.

Adam: Coming into Calgary, this last leg, I wasn’t so much fixated on a win so much as just being grateful we were there. It didn’t really sink in that we were going to win until we were crossing the river on that zipline.

What was the hardest emotional moment for you guys?

Adam: The dance in Jakarta. Coming into that challenge in second place, and finishing with Todd and Anna — a very strong team — and they got U-turned and that’s what kept us in the race. But coming in second-last and just about being eliminated, that was horrible. It’s when I realized that attitude is everything.

Courtney: There were four times on the mat where we ultimately had to say goodbye to other teams. Usually what happens is you get swept away and you don’t get to say goodbye to the teams when you’re eliminated. For me it was really hard to see them go and we were the ones to stay. I always got emotional at the mat. We were so grateful but at the same time it was hard to see people go.

What’s the trick to racing with your main squeeze and not fighting?

Adam: Any human complication can always be boiled down to one issue, always one — communication. We realized early on that if you don’t have good, clear communication then your relationship is going to fail. We’ve really worked on our communication over the years. It’s easy to get offended, but with Court there’s always that communication and trust, and understanding that if something sounds bad there’s a really, really good chance that it was not meant to sound that way. We had a common goal in mind, let’s get ‘er done.

Do your backgrounds as first responders help with that, especially when you’re in a stressful situation?

Courtney: Going into the race that’s what we said. We thought our jobs would give us a little bit of an edge and we do work in stressful situations. But in leg one that all went down the drain. It was like, panic button, and panic mode, and maybe our jobs gave us a bit of an edge but you’re in such a different situation. You’re not in a situation where you’re trained and you have your staff or your backup support. So it’s very different. We’ve dealt with some stressful situations at work, but we felt ten times more stressed out on the race.

Do you have advice for anyone who might consider trying out for this thing?

Courtney: Learn how to read a map!

Adam: That’s for sure — navigation is key, to and from tasks. But also just, and for everyday life too, it’s hard to get out of that negative mindset, but do it. Just focus on one thing at a time because if you start thinking about, “Oh we’re going to be eliminated, this is the last challenge,” it seems like there’s always something in there that changes everything up. So for me, remain positive and concentrate on one thing at a time and learn how to read maps.

Are you planning on a bigger wedding now that you have a little more cash in your pockets?

Courtney: We’re still just sticking with our plan. We’re getting married in Mexico and we’re going to have all our friends and family and it’s going to be beautiful and wonderful and we can’t wait.

Now that you have this ultimate trip around the world is that your new honeymoon plan?

Adam: I was hoping that if we didn’t win that I’d be able to say this was our honeymoon, but now that we have this trip around the world that’s definitely our honeymoon. We’re looking forward to seeing more of Canada and more of the world.

Do you have anything to add?

Adam: Thanks to everyone who has shown love and support — not just for us but for all the teams. This has been, in my mind, and I might be a little biased, the best season of The Amazing Race. Not just Canada, but any season.

Catch up on previous seasons of The Amazing Race Canada on CraveTV.