Ryan and Sarah have just arrived back in Leh at around the 10.5 hour mark since starting off at 6am this morning. TeamSG camped out for two days leading up to the race close to the starting line. All went smoothly except for a very random and chaotic dust storm last night just as the cars were arriving to be packed up for the race – bit inconvenient but not too much damage. We all enjoyed seeing the toilet fly into the kitchen tent – very glamorous out here. Up early this morning to get everything ready and left the campsite around 5:15am. Samantha was feeling naturally apprehensive especially given that she had woken up with a swollen eye from the dust storm. A quick medical check at the starting line delayed her participating in the group photos and some unfortunate communication difficulties left her running just to make the starting line – not a great start to the race for an emotional Samantha. The first climb was also quite challenging as it dawned on Samantha and the other runners just how exhausting the conditions are and how great the distance was. The team started off together to the first military checkpoint and then Ryan and Sarah continued on to the top. Samantha was having trouble downing food to begin with but after some nausea tablets and a better food/drink schedule she got a good pace going. It was a challenging climb physically and mentally and it was made more difficult by a few landslides, a big military-truck traffic jam, a quick change from heat to snow, and of course the troubles with getting calories into her. We also had a few problems with Ryan getting a bit unwell earlier in the morning, but everything smoothed out after lots of water (as is necessary at altitude) and some bland good. After a “marathon” effort so to speak, Samantha, Sarah and Ryan reached the 42km mark holding hands at the highest motorable pass in the world where Nic and Jim were waiting for the changeover. After a quick medical check and some soup and tea, Samantha was looking a million times better and feeling ready for the next leg. Nic and Jim got onto the bikes to ride downhill with her and Ryan and Sarah headed all the way down to Leh for the first rest break. After a lovely message (we finally got some phone reception) from Samantha’s beloved Daniel wishing her well, she looked much happier and ready for anything as she made her way down. Photos below of the first part of the journey. More updates to come as we go. Already an incredibly awe-inspiring, eye-opening, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Stay tuned.