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This article was published 12/7/2013 (2892 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Yes, it was amazing. And challenging. And inspiring, at times frightening, consistently exhausting and, in the end, quite rewarding.
But for Winnipegger Tim Hague, 48, who competed in The Amazing Race Canada alongside 23-year-old son Tim Jr., the reality-TV competition was nothing compared to the real race he's in.
Hague, who was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson's disease three years ago, is inclined to treat every day like a full-on sprint in order to make sure no opportunity is missed and no regrets are accumulated.
"Parkinson's is generally seen as an old man's disease, right?" says Hague, a native of Robstown, Texas, who moved to Winnipeg nearly 25 years ago after meeting his wife, Sheryl, at a Bible college in Kansas. "It's grandpa or the old guy who gets it; it's rarely a 30-something or a 40-something you think of when you think of Parkinson's.
"I know a couple of things: without a cure, this disease will win the war. It will. And I can deal with that. It's the day-to-day that you have to wrap your head around, and that factors well into The Amazing Race, because it's all about persistence and perseverance. You've got to stand up and face this thing every day and do what you've got to do... In the Race, as in life, you get up every morning, face the damned thing, and kick its ass.
"You have to. Because if you don't, not only will it win the war, it will also beat you down every day."
While his indomitable can-do spirit made him a perfect candidate for the Canadian version of The Amazing Race, it was actually wife Sheryl's faithful fan interest in the long-running CBS series that led to both Tims taking part in the show.
"She was a large part of the motivation," explains Hague, a registered nurse who works at St. Boniface General Hospital. "Quite frankly, I probably wouldn't have applied on my own... But she has watched every season of the show, and was very interested in her and I doing it together. But when we looked at the requirements -- they wanted a commitment of five weeks of your life, and the idea of leaving both of our jobs when we've got 15-year-old twins at home just wasn't practical -- she came back and said, 'You and Timothy are applying.'
"So we spent about a day-and-a-half putting the (audition) video together; I typed up an email and sent it and then forgot about it. I didn't hold out a whole lot of hope that we'd get called, but lo and behold, we did get a call, and the rest is history."
The Hagues are one of nine two-person teams competing in The Amazing Race Canada, which takes place fully within this country's borders and offers its winners a $250,000 cash prize, a pair of 2014 Corvette Stingrays and an opportunity to travel free for a year, first class, to anywhere Air Canada flies.
Hague says the fact he has made fitness a major part of his life during the past couple of decades played a big part in his being able to race despite his Parkinson's diagnosis.
"I'm very fortunate," Hague explains. "About 20 years ago, I started running and cycling. I've done one short triathlon, a full marathon and a bunch of half-marathons. And that has preserved my well-being; my neurologist tells me that every time I see him. Not only am in better shape than most people with Parkinson's, I'm in better shape than most people, period. And that is the reason I'm doing as well as I am.
"I'm not on any meds; I can do pretty much whatever I want. I can't run as fast as I used to, but that may have more to do with being closer to 50 than 20. I'm in great shape compared to most people, and it has been pointed out to me over and over that that is a result of 20 years of hard exercise."
That said, Hague admits that the disease was a consideration for him and Tim Jr. throughout their Amazing Race experience.
"It was a factor in the race, absolutely," he says. "I get tired; I get brutally tired -- that's the No. 1 thing I deal with. And when I get tired, it throws my emotions off and I can experience these huge emotional swings when I'm exhausted.
"So I knew going in that I had to stay rested, because it really wears me down. The fatigue gets worse, the stiffness gets worse, and I just can't function right. So we worked hard at making sure I got down time -- when we were down, we did nothing except rest and eat -- and we survived it."
Hague says he hopes his involvement in The Amazing Race Canada will raise awareness and funds for the fight against Parkinson's -- in addition to the weekly CTV series, their Race exploits will be highlighted on Facebook, Twitter (@timtimeARC) and YouTube.
"I'm also doing the Parkinson SuperWalk on Sept. 7, which is to raise money for research towards a cure," he adds, "so people can visit the website and support me."
Hague says Canadians should be proud, rather than concerned or skeptical, about CTV's decision to restrict the Canuck version of The Amazing Race to domestic destinations only.
"I grew up in the States; I've lived here for 24 years," he says. "Canadians need to get their heads around the fact that this is a phenomenal country. I guarantee you Canadians are going to be impressed by what they see; to think that we will spend upwards of 10 episodes showcasing this country is absolutely amazing in and of itself.
"We should be fundamentally proud that anybody would take the time to show off Canada like this. I don't care if their original reasons were budget or otherwise; this is a tribute to Canada that every Canadian should fully appreciate."
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After three decades spent writing stories, columns and opinion pieces about television, comedy and other pop-culture topics in the paper’s entertainment section, Brad Oswald shifted his focus to the deep-thoughts portion of the Free Press’s daily operation.
The Amazing Race Canada
Hosted by Jon Montgomery
Monday at 8 p.m.
All-Canadian show, all-Canadian host
IT goes without saying that Jon Montgomery is a natural fit for The Amazing Race Canada.
After all, racing is what he does. And he's amazing at it.
If anything, what's surprising about his involvement is that Montgomery -- an Olympic gold medallist in the harrowing, high-speed skeleton event -- is the CTV reality/competition series' host rather than one of its competitors.
"I'm definitely a fan of (the CBS version of) The Amazing Race; I've watched many episodes in the past and could always see myself being on the show as a racer," the celebrated product of Russell says in a telephone interview. "I've always thought that the challenges that test (contestants) along the road are exciting things that I would like to try, and I would welcome the opportunity to do some world travel.
"I never really envisioned myself in (host) Phil Keoghan's role, but you begin to switch gears pretty quickly when opportunities present themselves. It wasn't too hard to move from a racer's mindset to that of a host."
While he actually won't compete in The Amazing Race Canada's various Roadblock, U-Turn and Fast-Forward challenges that face the show's nine two-person teams, Montgomery will expand the host's role by acting as a demonstrator/guinea pig who tries out the often white-knuckle-inducing tests in each episode.
"I think part of the reason they wanted me in this role is because they wanted someone who could take on some of these challenges, do them adequately and explain them," says Montgomery, who took a five-week break from training for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, to handle the Race's hosting duties.
"I certainly enjoyed doing them. I think they were looking for someone like myself in order to differentiate this show's host from what Phil Keoghan does. They didn't want to have just a look-alike stand-in for him; they wanted to have something that's distinctly their own, and I think this show does that."
This isn't Montgomery's first foray into TV adventuring. In 2010, on the heels of his gold-medal triumph on the skeleton run in Whistler, B.C., the Olympian and three fellow athletes (including then-fianc©e Darla Deschamps, whom he married in 2011) embarked on an extreme-sports adventure that was turned into a thrilling Discovery Channel special called Best. Trip. Ever.
This week, Montgomery will further showcase his on-camera skills by dropping in as a guest host on Monday's edition of Canada AM.
He says the fact The Amazing Race Canada's crew and contestants never ventured outside this country should in no way detract from the series' excitement.
"It's pretty funny to hear people use the words 'the confines of Canada,'" he says. "In the three weeks we were gone, we travelled 25,000 kilometres... We're in Canada, probably the most multicultural nation in the world. You want to experience different cultures? You can do that here. A broad cross-section of landscapes? We can do that here. Different major bodies of water? Check mark -- we've got the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans.
"I think The Amazing Race could be done here within Canada for years and years to come. We didn't need to leave Canada to make an amazing show."
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