Canadian sprinters Sam Effah and Sarah Wells, who competed in Season 7 of The Amazing Race Canada, are among the final three teams to make it to the final episode, which airs Tuesday evening at 9:00 p.m. ET on CTV. (If you’ve been watching all summer, you already know that the other two teams in the final episode are married couple Anthony and James from Edmonton and sisters Lauren and Joanne from Regina. Couple Dave and Irina from Montreal were eliminated in the penultimate episode.)
— Sam Effah (@Sam_Effah) September 4, 2019
The race, which began with 10 teams, started in Toronto before traveling across Canada to perform some highly physical and typically Canadian tasks like racing dirt bikes, planting trees, digging clams, testing their lacrosse skills and baiting an ice-fishing hook. They also had to perform more cerebral exercises, like assembling a model train set, competently calling a square dance, addressing a mock-G7 summit in both official languages, and solving a complex problem in physics.
On the first leg, Effah and Wells came back from a tough start, clawing their way from last place to second. “As an Olympic athlete, the hurdles are in the exact same spot every single time,” Wells said in the segment. “The Amazing Race Canada is out of my comfort zone!”
At that point, Wells didn’t yet know just how far out of her comfort zone she’d be pushed. In Yellowknife, she had to conquer her worst fear to don a drysuit and swim under the ice while clutching a safety rope. The air temperature was minus 22 C. “To be under three feet of ice with only two small human-size holes carved out was petrifying,” says Wells. “Like, what if I go off the path? That idea of going up and hitting your head gives me chills, still. Facing that fear was a big deal. In the moment it was my least favourite challenge, but it’s become my favourite to talk about, because it was such a pivotal moment to face a fear like that and overcome such a massive mental obstacle.”
— Sarah Wells (@SarahWells400mh) September 8, 2019
For his part, Effah is terrified of heights, and though some competitors relished the bungee jump and primal swing challenge in Nanaimo, BC, he did not–far from it. To make it even more challenging, he had to first memorize and then correctly recite the ingredients in a Nanaimo bar, while his brain struggled with the anticipation of the challenge awaiting him. “My nervous system was shot,” Effah joked, speculating that the stress may even have impacted his reaction time in race starts. “I knew that if I didn’t complete this obstacle, we’d be out of the race.” He got it done.
Effah grew up in Calgary and attended university there before relocating to Toronto. Now 30, he is a two-time Canadian champion in the 100m, and ran his personal best of 10.06s at NACAC in Miramar, Florida in 2010. He struggled with muscle tears in his quads and hips that required surgery and prevented him from making Canada’s Olympic team in both 2012 and 2016, but his goal is to compete in Tokyo in 2020.
Wells advanced to the semifinals of the 400m hurdles at the London Olympics in 2012. She won silver in the 400m hurdles and bronze in the 4x400m relay at the Pan Am Games in Toronto in 2015, but she, too, struggled with injuries and was unable to compete in the 2016 Olympics. She founded the Believe Initiative to inspire Canadian students to push past obstacles and build resilience and self-belief. Wells is 29.
It turns out that though Effah and Wells were the only elite sprinters in the race, they weren’t the only runners. Anthony and James (who also made it to the final episode) tied the knot at the BMO Vancouver Marathon in 2017.
Watch the final episode of The Amazing Race Canada on CTV on Tuesday, September 10 at 9:00 p.m. ET. Bell Media subscribers can watch online by logging in here.
UPDATE September 11, 2019: Sam and Sarah finished second overall.