Canada followed along as a father and son travelled across the country taking on challenges even the healthiest of people had trouble with.
Fort Garry resident Tim Hague Sr., 48, did it with Young Onset Parkinson’s disease to win the first-ever Amazing Race Canada.
The Hagues won $250,000, two 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingrays, and 10 first-class flights anywhere Air Canada flies.
"It was a tough secret to keep," said Hague, who actually won back in May. "We didn’t want to spoil it for people and it was a really, really fun thing to have so many people come up and ask us ‘Well, who won?’"
With his son Tim Hague Jr., 23, Hague Sr., a registered nurse at St. Boniface Hospital, raced across Canada against eight other teams visiting 12 Canadian stops across 9,000 kilometres.
In Yellowknife, they polar bear dipped, in Regina they trained with the Roughriders, in Iqaluit they ate whale skin and blubber, and that’s only the beginning.
Hague said this journey has taught him a lot about Canada.
"We typically have no idea what’s going on in our own country," said Hague, who hadn’t been east of Toronto before the race. "I know I have no idea that we had the smallest official desert in the world in the Yukon... absolutely stunning, stunning, stunning environment."
One of the provinces left out of the epic race was Hague’s home province of Manitoba.
"I think it sucks," said Hague. "Anything we did in Regina we could have done in
Manitoba. So of course we were really choked when we realized we weren’t coming home."
The season finale took the racers to Toronto, which included a trip to the Toronto Zoo visiting its famous pandas. The "Tims" as they were called by their fellow competitors, got lost in the over 700-acre attraction. This put the Hagues in last place.
Behind two teams from Ontario, a pair of sisters and a pair of brothers, Tim Sr. was able to regain the lead over the other teams by successfully completing a challenge that asked competitors to match each province up with its corresponding flag and official flower.
Hague said he would not have been so successful in the challenge without an
important tip from his wife, and Amazing Race super-fan.
"She has watched all of the episodes of the American Amazing Race and she had given us a laundry list of things to keep an eye on," said Hague. "One of them was the flags on the clues, flowers on the lapels… it turned out to be golden advice from her."
Hague said anyone even considering signing up for the newly-announced second season should definitely give it a shot.
"It’s fantastic and if people are interested they absolutely should apply," said Hague. "You just never know what you are able to do unless you challenge yourself a little bit. Even with a chronic disease or problems, everyone’s an individual and you have to bear out your own situation. But I’d encourage people to give it a go."
Throughout the race, Hague was dealing with his Parkinson’s by getting lots of rest between challenges. He said anything can be done when someone is determined to persevere.
"The big message that we want to send out there if we can is just one of hope," said Hague. "Until you just cannot go any further there is always hope that you will turn a
corner, luck will prevail, that things will be easier than you thought they were, or
something… and once you’ve done your best you have to be proud of the fact that you’ve done everything you could to succeed."
To help others with Young Onset Parkinson’s, Hague was on-site as a new program between the Reh-Fit Centre and the Parkinson Society of Manitoba was announced Monday.
Recently, research has shown the positive effects of exercise in delaying and assisting those with Young Onset Parkinson’s. The new program will include 75- minute
exercise classes twice a week to help combat the effects of Parkinson’s.