G & W - First off, this is a question from my 11 year-old daughter, who asks why would you race with dad?
Kristin - That's a really good question. Why race with my dad? There is no one I respect more so I would always be on my best behaviour because I have so much love and respect for him. He was a professional athlete, how many people can say that about their dad? And not only that, he has the same amount of love and respect for me that I have for him and to boot, he's a coach. So I kind of had the best of all worlds when picking my teammate.
G & W - Who's idea was it to go on the race?
Kristin - Oh it was mine. I had actually applied twice before with a girlfriend of mine. And I'm a huge fan of this show, as is my dad. I kind of felt that the first two times I applied with my friend that maybe he was just a bit jealous. So we gave it a shot and here we are now.
G & W - What was it like when you found out you were chosen?
Neil - It was very cool. I thought from a name recognition we'd have a shot, at least people would know the family. And the father/daughter thing can be very compelling when I try to see how the production company and CTV would look at it. And there's the old expression be careful what you wish for. But I thought there would be a chance, especially in the first year Kristin applied she got pretty close, not to the finals, but closer than she did in the second season.
G & W - I know you're still in good shape Neil but were there any concerns with your age? Whether you might not be able to handle the tasks or you just didn't care?
Kristin - Yes (stretches out the word). I knew that he could do it and he's the oldest racer yet in Amazing Race Canada. And my dad's mindset is that he is 35 when his body is 62 and it's not just that, his profession was a very physical sport. And when an injury happens it happens at a much more severe level and takes longer to recover, and that's natural, it happens when you get older. But a lot of people didn't know but my dad raced the entire race from Leg 1 with a pulled hamstring. And I think that's a huge credit to his athleticism and his competitive nature to really want to work hard for our team.
G & W - Speaking of injuries, how are you feeling Kristin considering what happened to your legs in the sandcastle task?
Kristin - I'm fine, I wasn't really injured. What had happened was my muscles in my calves and my feet and my toes, have you ever woken up in the middle of the night and your calves and your toes are kind of gnarled up? So it was like for about five hours. So when the doctor gave me the muscle relaxor and said it was going to take a few hours he said it was going to be really sore for the next couple of days. It was just pain, it wasn't an injury, thankfully. So I was a bit limpy here and there, and it was definitely sore, but there was no way we weren't going to continue on.
G & W - Was that the toughest part of the race for you?
Neil - For me it was one of the toughest parts because you never want to see your kid suffer. I knew she was on the edge and fortunately we got approved to continue. But when muscles cramp like that, after they've uncramped they get very sore. And that was the other side of that, would the whole build-up of pain allow her to do what she needed to do? That's got to be the toughest part, both emotionally and physically for her.
Kristin - I've broken bones, I've had surgery and that pain was the top of the list. And it was hard to sit back and very vulnerable to the audience and see me at probably one of my worse pains I've experienced in 31 years. I felt a bit silly for awhile because I didn't want to look bad but it was just what it was. There was fake anything, that was as real as it gets.
G & W - And there was no question that you stopped the race and you went to hospital.
Neil - Yeah, that's what you do. I had a sense that we would continue on but it had to be up to Kristin.
Kristin - For me, it was just telling myself, "this is one of the worse days you've ever had but you're still in the race, just keep moving forward."
G & W - From the worse part of the race to your favourite, we're assuming it's when you came in first in Argentina?
Kristin - What a phenomenal leg. We worked really well as a team, we had lots of fun, we pushed hard for that. And when Jon told us we won, our surprise was so genuine because we didn't see Nic and Sabrina sitting there. So when Jon said "however" the look on my face is "Wait, what?" I was worried we didn't settle up with the cab properly or something, I didn't know it was going to be awesome news.
G & W - We noticed that you guys have some skill with dancing, is that a genetic because Neil was good at dancing past tacklers in his CFL days?
Neil - I don't think we planned it that way. We fell into the first time with the Rapa Nui dance, which I've been told is a fertility dance which now scares the hell of me...
Kristin - Oh my God, really?
Neil - Yeah, I've got a couple of emails with women there... (obviously stretching and posturing noises from Neil)
Kristin (obviously embarrassed) - Oh God...
Neil - I'm just kidding. But you know the dances are hard but they are fun. But the hardness is amplified by the stress of the environment and wanting to get in and out and get it done. And then there is more stress with the teams around you. But for the most part we had a pretty good attitude going in. And the other reason why I liked that leg so much is that we didn't have a pass to use, we ground our way through that and that makes me feel great.
G & W - What about the photos of Neil in that Rapa Nui dance, have you got any emails from that?
Neil - That's my Christmas card for the year.
Kristin - You'll get yours this year.
G & W - No thank you, please don't.
Kristin - Put that right on the fridge.
G & W - No. Please.
Neil - We've had great fun with that. You can do something like this and worry about having to do something like that and be successful. I had no idea, none of us did, and it makes for great TV, laughs and conversation now, but man, there wasn't a whole lot of clothing going on over there.
Kristin - You have to be really be open to embarrass yourself to a certain degree if you're going to be on this show.
Neil - Or not be afraid to.
Kristin - Right. And have some fun and we did. And that's why when we made that switch to the hoop dance, if we get out at least we're having a good time. And that last dance we did, that was really cool, that was really special to be able to take part in something like that. Culturally, we were so submerged in some of the coolest things that this very tight knit group of people were only able to do. And we're very lucky for that.
G & W - Speaking of tight knit, have you bonded with some teams more others in the race?
Kristin - Dad and I had wonderful relationships with the majority of the teams. I don't have a bad thing to say about anyone. Brent and Sean actually tweeted out that after we had left, the tune of relationships really changed from here on out. They said that once they felt, they mourned our loss, and we have so much respect of everyone else moving forward because we know what it takes to go through this race. And for them to keep going and to do it in India, wow! Nothing but respect for the six teams moving forward.
G & W - We've talked to many teams and they all say that it's a lot tougher than what it looks like on TV.
Neil - When you talk in terms of running a leg, getting minimal sleep, and out the next morning at three for a rip and read all over again, and then you go and watch the show, people know that there is so much more to it than the show that you see. And there is so much more to it, but you can't show it all. The reality is that the producers do a great job of telling stories about what's going on but there are a lot of other stories going on. I look back at them now exclusively with a smile.
Neil - Piece of cake choice. Being in shape and playing, even with injuries and having the ability to prepare for each week, to get ready and know who your opponent is, versus being in okay shape for a 62 year-old and not having clue where your next step is going to take you and then when you get there not know what you are going to have to do? It's a no brainer; this race is by far the toughest thing I've ever done.
G & W - Kristin, did you learn something or come away with something from the race?
Kristin - Absolutely, the race taught me a lot of lessons in perseverance, hard work, patience, understanding. At the end of the day, we always had a lot of love. I always knew this about my dad but I never really saw it to level I did, but he's a very patient man. He's a lot of fun to be around, we have a similar sense of humour so we were cracking jokes left, right and centre. But I came home from the race and 24 hours later, I took off to start a new job. And I wasn't even nervous about this new job because I thought if I could Amazing Race Canada, I could do anything. People tell me that they were proud of me after the race but I'm really proud of myself and I'm proud of my dad.
G & W - Great stuff guys. We have one question left: Gord and Wayne both have daughters, Wayne's kid is 11 and Gord's kid is 14, and you probably remember that age Neil, so any advice that you can give us to help us get through, to help us, or move forward, would be great.
Kristin (laughs) - I love that question.
Neil - Well, I'm holding a seminar...(laughs). That's a great question and I was relatively stern as a parent, not crazy but I felt there was a way to do things and those things we as parents need to do were important in building integrity, trust and character, and resilience. And then understanding through all that that they have to be kids and have fun. But learn to make good decisions in their lives. There's a fine line with trying to be your child's friend and being their parent, it really is a fine line. And I think what we were able to do was that our kids knew who their parents were and they probably knew those parents had their back all the time, always loved them, always was there to support them, and had fun with them. And as that starts to mature and the relationship continues as the kid gets older, you have the relationship that you have with us. It's special.
Kristin - It's nice to be on the same level as your parent and be listened and spoken to like an equal. Like my dad said we were definitely brought up in conservative way but still with lots of love and lots of fun. My brother and I were both competitive athletes growing up, we didn't have too much time to get into trouble. But when I started to turn more into the person I am now and my parents left me be me, be that woman, and they may have huffed and puffed at some of the tattoos but that's their job. But it's nice to know that he's my dad but he's also my buddy. And that happens as you get older and you can look back and say "Thanks for parenting me and thanks for just being there."