Ron Rutland and James Owens have reached yet another milestone on their epic journey. After passing the 100-day and the 10,000-kilometer mark, they arrived at the halfway point of the Race to Rugby World Cup 2019™ on Day 103 in Lahore, Pakistan.
🗺️ 10,000km for the lads already.— DHL Rugby (@DHLRugby) May 16, 2019
👏 They've passed the halfway point on their amazing adventure and we can't wait to see what the second half brings...
🙏 Hopefully more of the same! #DHLRugby#RacetoRWC#EpicJourneyhttps://t.co/vWOlKs1vrK
It’s safe to say that it has not been walk in the park! Check out some of the tough moments they’ve endured along the way and read the blog Ron sent over to us.
A significant moment
For someone who hates the ‘game of two halves’ cliché thrown around by sporting commentators (both those in the commentary box as well as those on the couch), I’m going to resist the temptation to throw it myself, in reference to James and I reaching the halfway point of the #RaceToRWC, but reaching Pakistan, and the 10,000-km mark, really did feel like a significant moment in our journey, on a number of levels.
“Makes me think if we can last 100 days together, we can probably manage 231!”Ron Rutland
Firstly, James and I are still talking, and from my side at least, enjoying each other’s company. Makes me think if we can last 100 days together, we can probably manage 231!
Secondly, dropping down the Karakoram Highway from the Khunjerab Pass at 4,500m to 2,000m and lower in a matter of 48hrs, and the resultant change of temperature from -10°C to 35°C meant that we had a ‘light switch’ type change from finally ending the winter half of the expedition, and knowing now we are well and truly ‘all in’ on the Asian summer and the start of the ‘big sweat’ for the rest of the trip. Basically, we missed out spring completely!
Thirdly, dare I say, I feel now we have got successfully through the trickiest stretch of the #RaceToRWC in terms of visas, permits, and possible ‘political issues’, and, holding thumbs, we are relatively ‘home dry’ in that regard which is a big relief.
"Basically, we missed out on spring completely!"
Finally, the biggest change now is in my mindset. The first half of the trip was a lot about building up some ‘fat’ in relation to our schedule to manage possible delays relating to our health, or more importantly, the issues mentioned above, and until we entered Pakistan, there was always the nagging doubt that perhaps our planned route could be scuppered at the last minute and we’d have to make some massive detours to our plans to reach Laos and HK (and Japan) on time for various engagements. But now that that massive weight has lifted from my shoulders, and fortunately due to a combination of luck, good planning and phenomenal support from DHL, none of those potential issues came to pass, and that extra ‘fat’ that we built up means that we approach the 2nd half with a significantly less daunting schedule in terms of kms/day, and we can really enjoy the rest of the expedition with a much more relaxed approach, and hopefully few extra rest days (and beers) included from time to time!
“The biggest change now is in my mindset.”
Sweat, mud and tears
So, all in all, #RaceToRWC is proving to be the adventure of a lifetime. It’s been a huge physical challenge, and I’ve relished that challenge and am so grateful that less than a year after a hip replacement I can push myself like this...a massive second lease on life! It’s also been an amazing personal challenge and experience, and to spend time cycling across Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Pakistan in particular, all new countries to me, and in fact all 19 countries until now, to meet the people of these countries, and many of them so badly perceived from the ‘outside’, be witness to some of the most varied and incredible natural beauty imaginable, as well as successfully negotiate the crazy streets of the cities, all from the back of my bike, from the brutal cold, to the heat, to the wind, to the rain, to the hail, and the snow...it’s quite simply been a dream!!
Thanks for the memories and reminders @DHLRugby !!! That's indeed a very fair summary of the sweat, mud and cheers...we've survived and loved (almost!) every minute of those first 100 days! https://t.co/o4cHQ1VX9k— Ron Rutland (@RonRutland) May 15, 2019
The next half
It goes without saying that I am looking forward to the 2nd half with as much giddy excitement as I get looking back at the first half, and there’s absolutely no sense that in anyway I am ‘counting the days’ - long may at it last, and I keep reminding myself how damn lucky we are to be living this dream, and to be present and enjoy everyday as if it’s the last...because all too soon it will be.
“I keep reminding myself how damn lucky we are to be living this dream”
Also, the biggest thanks to DHL. Your support in every way imaginable has gone way beyond anything one could reasonably have expected, and I think I speak on behalf of James when I say we genuinely feel part of the family...it’s been the biggest privilege and pleasure to meet and engage with so many of your colleagues across our route, and I am determined to follow up on all the promises of various return visits in the future!
Paying it forward
We’ve also been so humbled by the support of so many people, from afar and those we meet on route, and we hope that in some small way we can pay this forward by really driving and focusing on the fundraising efforts for ChildFund Pass It Back as we run out for the 2nd half of #RaceToRWC!
Please help us support ChildFund Pass it Back. Donate today!
Ron and James have raised around €20,000 in donations so far – nearly half way to their target of €50,000. We would appreciate your support. Go here to make a donation to ChildFund Pass It Back.
Follow and Join!
Ron and James are currently in India. Follow their progress here on DHL InMotion, where you’ll also find regular updates, photos and messages from Ron and James as they pedal their way to Rugby World Cup 2019™. Follow Ron (Twitter and Instagram) and James (Twitter and Instagram) and reach out to find out where they’ll be next!
You can also sign up to join the duo for the final part of their adventure, in Japan.
Learn more about ChildFund Pass It Back at childfundpassitback.org.