This year's series of popular BBC challenge show Race Across The World features two best friends from St Albans.

Alfie and Owen, both aged 20, met at school before moving into football refereeing and aeroplane piloting.  

Prior to taking on the race - a 15,000km route through several countries in Eastern Asia - the duo have spoken about the challenge ahead.

Alfie began: "I think we wanted to take part in the series mainly because we’re both lovers of travelling and have done a little bit of travelling before but never done the whole backpacking, country-hopping situation.

"It was something that we wanted to try further down the line anyway and we thought it would be such a great experience that it would be impossible to say no to."

"Also, we wanted to put our friendship to the test" Owen added. "We wanted to see how we’d deal in this sort of situation and how well we can do, see if we can make it to the end and maybe even win!

"I think we are quite adventurous, we put ourselves forward quite a lot.

"We don’t really shy away from opportunities, such as this one, and we don’t like wasting the time we spend in other countries, we try and see and do as much as we can whilst we’re there, maximising the time.

Herts Advertiser: Alfie and Owen met at school, and are now best friends.Alfie and Owen met at school, and are now best friends. (Image: BBC Media Centre)

"When we were both in Sixth Form, we both discovered that we really liked travelling, so then we started going on trips together, the cheapest flights we could get whenever and wherever and then I guess it’s kind of spiralled from going to Europe for a weekend to this.

"My family like me taking every opportunity I can, and my parents travelled when they were younger, they did a lot when they were my age and have travelled everywhere.

"I saw all the pictures and the stories they had from it and I knew I definitely wanted to do that too.

"I don’t want to miss out on it. So, yes, they're glad I’m seizing the opportunity."

Describing his parents' reaction to him taking on the challenge, Alfie said: "They’re both very impressed.

"I think they’re both shocked that we made it so far. I think, certainly for my family, I don’t think it properly sunk in till probably today that I’m not coming back for a while."

Each year on Race Across The World, participants face a battle between spending their money for a faster route or trying to save along the way.

Herts Advertiser: Finances and staying sane has been described as the pair's biggest challenge.Finances and staying sane has been described as the pair's biggest challenge. (Image: BBC Media Centre)

Alfie continued: "Finances and staying sane would be probably the biggest challenge. 

"Obviously, finances is the tangible one and I just think as time goes on we’re going to get more and more dragged down, particularly if we’re low on sleep, low on food, low on money, it’s going to add up very quickly.

"We’re both quite young so we’ve still got that drive in us, but we’ll see how that looks in week six with no sleep.

"Owen's got this idea that I’m terrible with money. I am very, very good with money unless I see something that is of incredible value.

"I think what’s going to catch us out is maybe different currencies and things like that, things you just don't have to think about if you have a card.

"Also, times that banks open, it’s just stuff that you don’t even have to consider normally."


Speaking of his biggest challenge, Owen continued: "It’s so easy just to look up a map on your phone and know exactly where you’re going and exactly how much it’s going to cost, so obviously we’re not going to have that.

"I also think travelling with just cash is going to be quite tricky."

Alfie and Owen first featured on BBC's Race Across The World at 9pm last night (Wednesday, April 10).

The episode is now available to watch back via iPlayer.