Episode 1 Recap - Sapporo to Nara

The first leg of Race Across the World always gives a fascinating first look at the teams, not just as we discover a bit about who they are, but also as they start to discover how the show's low-budget travelling works for them. The couples all seemed eager from the start, but it was quickly apparent some preferred planning while others just rushed in!

The show (wisely) banned the bullet trains, but the youthful duo of Alfie and Owen set off like bullets anyway. Alfie especially seemed very keen to make headway, even to the detriment of keeping hold of their map. Owen seemed slightly more restrained, pushing to view Mount Fuji, and take a little more in of their surroundings.

Their biggest moment was losing the map, which almost made them look like they should enter a Japanese baby crying contest. Alfie tried to hand draw a replacement, but either that or their slightly scatty attitude meant they took a somewhat backtracking route - leaving Tokyo for Mount Fuji, then returning to Tokyo having missed a connecting transport.

An equally weird route was taken by Eugenie and Isabel, they went north-west-y to Niigata, seeing the beautiful island of Sado, but travelling the least direct path of the teams.

Isabel talked a lot about planning, but was trying to wing more of it, while being convinced they should avoid Tokyo as it was expensive. Their route avoiding the city however cost more than anyone else, and left them the only team not to find their first work along the way.

Betty and James and Brydie and Sharon took more similar paths, travelling via ferry to Hachinohe and taking a more steady line to the checkpoint.

Betty and James took the time out to see Matsushima Bay and pick up a job cleaning rickshaws. Their attention to detail didn’t quite meet the owners standards, and coupled with their mis-reading of a menu, the siblings might see more budget issues as the race goes on.

Brydie and Sharon however seemed to relish in their budgeting skills, and seem to be the friend-winning team, getting advice from locals, and even being gifted some traditional, if rather impractical shoes.

With an eye on the budget and the ability to get lifts from strangers, they might be a slow and steady team, able to make a stronger dash at the end with financial reserves.

Stephen and Viv also got a free lift, but their journey felt a lot more … relaxed then some. They started off early with a visit to an onsen, but put the work in more when taking up wasabi farming. It will be interesting to see how they change as the race continues, putting on a big burst of speed at the start never seems to last long in this race.

As indeed it didn’t much at the end of the leg - despite their weirder routes, Eugenie and Isabel, and Alfie and Owen entered Nara almost at the same time, taking a final foot race to the checkpoint.

The boys still flummoxed by maps ended up getting lost towards the hotel, allowing Isabel and Eugenie to take the lead by two minutes.

However that lead comes at a cost - with the ladies having used almost a third of their budget just in the first leg.

Betty and James and Stephen and Viv arrived a few hours later with a much more similar ~20% spent, while Brydie and Sharon arrived around 4 hours after the leads.

Final result

1Eugenie & Isabel~68%
2Alfie & Owen+2m??%
3Betty & James+1h 26m82%
4Stephen & Viv+2h 31m79%
4Brydie & Sharon+4h 15m??%

With only hours between them the budget and relationship of the teams is probably more important than their position, but do you think you can predict the winner of next week's show? Get your prediction in here!