Cormac Foster grew up dreaming of participating in The Amazing Race.
Since he was seven, the 19-year-old East Kildonan resident watched the CBS American adventure contest, which takes participants around the world to complete various challenges associated with the locale for the chance to win a plethora of prizes, including $1 million.
Inspired, Foster created his own version of the show to play at home, including making his own Road Blocks, Detours, and Fast Forward clue cards.
"We used to play The Amazing Race throughout the house with his friends," said his mother and teammate, Nicole, who turns 40 on July 5. "We always thought ‘If only we could get on that show, we would so love to.’"
So it came in handy that the Fosters qualified for The Amazing Race Canada in Cormac’s first year of eligibility, making him the youngest competitor in the history of the show’s North American offerings. The show’s second season, once again hosted by Russell-born Olympian Jon Montgomery, kicks off on July 8 on CTV. On the Canadian version of the show, the winning team receives $250,000, gas for life from Petro-Canada, and two Chevrolet Silverado trucks.
"Being superfans of the show, we have studied, we know what to bring, the best decisions to make in certain scenarios," Cormac said.
"All these years of watching the show, we would say ‘Which decision would we make? Which Detour would we go on?’ and so that helped us as far as ‘how would we come to decisions?’" Nicole added.
Cormac, a University of Manitoba bioengineering student, said he brought physical strength and problem-solving ability while Nicole’s driving ability was a needed trait. However, what they have in common also was a major boost to their chances.
"We talk about everything, so we can communicate very well with one another. We read each other really well," Nicole said. "We think alike, so that definitely is helpful."
Cormac added that though he knows the show’s minutiae inside and out, there were still some elements for which he and his mother couldn’t prepare.
"What really surprised me is how physical the show really is," Cormac said. "You can sit and watch it at home and think ‘I can do that.’"
"You don’t see when they’re tired or don’t have a lot of sleep, the physical exhaustion," Nicole added. "Those elements play in to how you race, and you don’t see it on the race."
The Fosters couldn’t confirm if they helped Winnipeg contingents on the show hold onto a perfect record — Tim Hague, Sr. and Tim Hague, Jr. of Fort Garry won Season 1. The first season was set entirely within Canada. There are rumours the second season may go international, as competitors required a valid Canadian passport this time around, though the Fosters couldn’t comment on where they visited.
Though the show filmed this spring, the Fosters said the experience still hasn’t entirely sunk in yet.
"We haven’t come off that high yet of just pinching ourselves still — did we just do this?" Nicole said.