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23rd of July 2018

Travel



‘Bad luck’: The Amazing Race Canada’s ‘Happy’ blames loss on the crabs

Being eliminated from The Amazing Race Canada is hard on any team. But when you’re the first pair headed home on the Heroes Edition of the franchise, it’s an even tougher pill to swallow.

On the new season, Canada’s most-watched summer series is shining a special light on those who wear military or police uniforms; who work as teachers, nurses, or volunteer their time for charitable causes.

Soaring into this year’s competition were two retired air force pilots from small-town Ontario — Corey “Chewy” Liddle and Mark “Happy” LaVerdiere — who wanted their appearance to honour the men and women who are serving our country.

But in a twist, Liddle and LaVerdiere started out in first and seemed like an odds-on favourite before ending the first leg narrowly in last place, just steps behind charity business partners Joseph Truong and Akash Sidhu.

It was possibly the closest finish in Amazing Race Canada history.

“I’ve heard that a few times,” LaVerdiere tells the Sun in a FaceTime call from Saudi Arabia.

Season 6 kicked off in British Columbia at Hatley Castle at Royal Roads University, a national historic site located in Victoria, with teams racing to the mountain town of Squamish, B.C. Faced with the first Roadblock of the season, one racer from each team had to retrieve a stuffed beaver, dangling high above the canyon floor by bungee jumping from a rope swing.

Liddle decided to take the beaver challenge — but only because he thought it needed someone who was strong.

“When they said, ‘Who wants to save a beaver?’ that it was a wood-chopping challenge,” LaVerdiere laughs. “I’m a big guy, but Chewie is bigger than me, so that’s why he did this.”

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Liddle struggled to retrieve the beaver, while barrel racing champion Nancy Csabay, Argos cheerleader Leanne Larsen, childhood cancer survivor Todd Kirk, RCMP officer Taylor Callens, banker Phil Seo, coach Dylan Elias and Royal Canadian Navy member Monica Demian all completed the challenge on their first attempt.

“He went first and I think the other teams learned by watching him,” LaVerdiere says. “It’s always hardest to go first at anything, and missing that first jump took a lot of time. He had to go back up the mountain and then get back in line to try again.”

Liddle and LaVerdiere managed to get back in the Race at the second Roadblock, which saw the racer that didn’t perform the first Roadblock gear up and climb to the top of an 80-foot pole.

But after the pole challenge, the teams had to paddle out on to Darrell Bay to go crabbing. Hauling up crab traps, racers were hoping to find regulation-sized crabs to receive their next clue.

“It was just bad luck that our crab was too small,” LaVerdiere shrugs. “Other teams came along and got it right their first time out. There’s not particular rhyme or reason to that — it is what it is.”

With Liddle off at work, LaVerdiere reflected on his short, but sweet, Amazing Race Canada journey.

You were literally just steps behind Joseph and Akash. What was the toughest part about that ending?

Right before the finish line we had the crab challenge and that’s a pure luck thing. You had to paddle out, find the buoy get the crab and paddle back. We were back and forth four or five times. Starting the day, we were in first place. So for us to go from first to last within a couple of hours was heartbreaking. But in the end it wasn’t meant to be.

All the challenges in the debut episode seemed extremely hard. Do you think The Amazing Race Canada: Heroes Edition is going to be the toughest season yet?

Yeah. There are some amazing teams. There are some physically fit teams, intelligent teams… you name it, every team is bringing something to the table. What Chewy and I brought was overall life experience. As pilots, we were pretty good at problem solving and remaining cool under pressure. But in the end, I think the Race is designed in a way that any team can win. The luck challenges are thrown in there and those help equalize everything. Sure, we were eliminated first, but moving forward I think had we had different luck, we could have won the Race.

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There are competitive teams from all walks of life. Who did you think were the biggest threats?

Just looking around the room, we thought Kwame and Dylan were probably the biggest physical challenge. We thought Adam and Courtney were a challenge. We looked at Melissa and Nancy as being up there, especially in terms of intelligence and life experience. The two police officers, Taylor and Courtney, those two had loads of experience dealing with problems and remaining cool under pressure. Everyone had something.

We know racers get to go abroad at a couple of points during the season. Was there somewhere you wished you could have gone?

One thing I was hoping to do was to dive with sharks in South Africa. I was hoping that might have panned out.

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What are the teams that inspired you to try out in the first place?

Chewy and I are happy-go-lucky people by nature, so we liked Mickey and Pete from Season 2. We also liked Jet and Dave from Season 1, they were fun-loving guys. I liked Natalie and Meaghan from Season 2. They competed in a good sportsman-like manner and they still kicked butt. Obviously Team Give’r from last year. Those are the teams we liked.

If there was an Amazing Race Redemption season would you want to come back and try and redeem yourselves?

Heck yeah. Big time. We want a second time at bat. We feel we have so much more to offer. We have so much more to show Canada with our enthusiasm and dedication.

The Amazing Race Canada: Heroes Edition airs Tuesdays on CTV.

Twitter: @markhdaniell

MDaniell@postmedia.com

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