Speaking to 10 play over the phone, Deb said it was a heartbreaking chapter to an already difficult year for the pair.
Admitting that she and Shane hadn’t actually applied this year for the race, they had originally applied for the first season and had gotten far through the process. This year they decided against applying after Shane had been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
“We got a call and they said they kept thinking about us from last year and asked if we wanted to apply this year,” Deb said. The pair couldn’t turn down the opportunity and got the approval of Shane’s surgeon.
Deb, meanwhile, was recovering from breaking her leg earlier in the year. Thinking that she was on track to recovery she persevered through the race.
“After the show I went and got another x-ray because it was feeling funny and it was broken the whole way through,” she said. “I did the show with a broken leg… but I passed medical because my pain threshold is pretty high.
“We kept saying to us if only it was six months prior or six months later it would be a different story,” Deb added.
During the fifth leg of the race, the teams all had to compete in an endurance challenge where one member of every team had to hang off a barge.
“We had to do a run up the beach and Shane said he felt something funny then,” Deb explained. “He said to me afterward he did feel a twinge in his knee.”
Shane, a former rugby league player, had three knee reconstructions on his left knee over the years due to injuries from the sport.
“But he also had a full shoulder reconstruction at the start of the year because he came off his motorbike as well,” Deb added, thinking that it was going to be Shane’s shoulder that would give him trouble during the challenge.
Though Shane was the first to drop off the barge, later that night the pain from the run and the pressure from holding onto the barge began to cause him discomfort.
“He said it was starting to stiffen and he just wanted to go back — I was going to say back to our room but back to our tent to lay on the hard floor,” Deb said, laughing.
After waking up in the night, Shane said he wasn’t able to move and by the time morning broke, Deb went to get one of the medics to see if anything could be done.
“He was in excruciating pain, he couldn’t move his leg. He was devastated,” she said.
“That just summed up 2020 for us, we just kept getting knocks and knocks and knocks. This was another one but we’ve become resilient. It was heartbreaking but we know we did really well,” Deb added.
Though it’s been a lot of fun being able to see their time on the show go to air, Deb admitted she had been “embarrassed” to see how badly she was limping on what she now knows was a broken leg.
“I didn’t think I was hobbling that bad! When I saw myself, Shane and I couldn’t stop laughing,” she said.
But the most difficult part is the unanswered question of just how far they could have gone had they not been forced out of the race.
“We wanted to give it 100 percent,” Deb said. “We had no money after having to try and get money for Shane’s operation. We had to sell the family boat. We wanted to give it our best shot and go for it because, if we could win that money, we could buy back the boat.
“For us, as a family, we do things all the time. Motorbike riding and going out on the boat, we do it all together… Now we’ll never know how far we could have actually gone. Could we have won the $250,000?”
The pair are still recovering from their various injuries, but with the new year, Deb said she and Shane have been staying positive loving getting to watch their time in the race with their kids.
The Amazing Race Australia continues 7.30 Sunday-Tuesday on 10 and 10 play