It’s a mammoth quest. Pedalling 20,000+ kilometers through 27 countries over 231 day. Two guys on two bikes riding half way across the globe on only the power of their two legs.
“This is going to be the most physically demanding trip of my life.”Ron Rutland
Race to Rugby World Cup is on! Starting tomorrow from Twickenham Stadium in London, site of the 2015 Rugby World Cup™ final, two DHL-supported cyclists begin an epic journey across Europe and Asia. In about eight months, they’ll arrive in Tokio just in time for the opening match of Ruby World Cup 2019™ on September 20.
“This is going to be the most physically demanding trip of my life,” says Ron Rutland, one half of a daring duo embarking on this extreme expedition.
So why do it?
“Just the sheer adventure of it,” says Ron. “Going through all those countries, many of which neither of us have ever been to before. Coming over every mountain pass and not knowing what’s on the other side. That’s the stuff that excites me. If that can’t get you up in the morning, nothing will.”
“If that can’t get you up in the morning, nothing will.”Ron Rutland
The South African is no stranger to adventure and adversity. The former rugby player and entrepreneur has embarked on not one but two extreme expeditions in his life – a world-first unsupported solo bicycle journey through the entire continent of Africa followed by world-record-breaking hole of golf across the immense, untouched landscapes of Mongolia.
For some, that sounds crazy. For others, like James Owens, who will be joining Ron, it sounded like the perfect fit.
“When I first heard about Race to Rugby World Cup it was just too good an opportunity to pass up,” says James.
James works at ChildFund Pass It Back and he’s passionate about using sport as a tool for social change. A big fan of adventure (and the unknown), the lure of a challenge and the potential to explore and experience new countries and cultures made the chance to join Ron’s Race to RWC too much to resist. And by hopping in the saddle himself, James will not only get to explore his own boundaries, he’ll also be finding new ways to fulfill his role at ChildFund Pass It Back and make the most out Race to RWC in support of the program.
Ron and James are riding to promote the sport of rugby and, more importantly, to raise money and awareness for ChildFund Pass It Back, which is the official charity of Rugby World Cup 2019 and the tournament’s Official Logistics Partner DHL.
“It equips youth with skills to overcome challenges in their life, inspire positive social change and pass it back to their communities.”James Owens
ChildFund Pass It Back is an innovative program led by ChildFund in partnership with World Rugby, Asia Rugby and Women Win. Based on utilizing sport for development, it delivers an integrated life skills and rugby curriculum for children and young people in disadvantaged communities across Asia. The program uses tag rugby to teach children and young people a range of valuable life skills, which equips them to overcome challenges, inspire positive social change and “pass it back” to their communities.
“ChildFund Pass It Back builds resilience in disadvantaged children and youth,” says James. “It equips youth with skills to overcome challenges in their life, inspire positive social change and pass it back to their communities.”
The program is running in Laos, Vietnam and the Philippines. With global recognition as a best practice sport for development program, ChildFund Pass it Back hopes to expand the program across Asia and beyond, so that more young people can benefit.
“This is a different way for me to contribute to ChildFund Pass It Back,” says James. “There’s an incredible team of stakeholders behind us, people counting on us to finish this thing. Nothing will stop us.”
“We really want to succeed,” says Ron. “For all our stakeholders, for DHL, for Pass It Back, and I think for our own personal pride make sure we get to Tokio in time for kickoff.”
“It’s probably the slowest delivery in DHL history. But it will be on time!”Ron Rutland
There’s a reason Ron and James need to be on time: They are carrying the official match whistle for the opening Rugby World Cup 2019™ match between Japan and Russia. Acting, so to speak, as DHL couriers, the guys will shuttle the whistle from Twickenham Stadium – home of the 2015 Rugby World Cup™ – all the way to Tokyo Stadium, Japan for tournament kick off on Saturday, September 20, 2019.
“It’s probably the slowest delivery in DHL history,” say Ron. “But it will be on time!”
At Twickenham, Head of Rugby World Cup, Alan Gilpin, will present Ron and James with the whistle. We’ll be tracking it every step of the way through each of the 27 countries, allowing you all to follow this unique countdown to Rugby World Cup 2019™.
Follow and join!
Race to RWC starts tomorrow February 2, 2019. Please support Ron and James and ChildFund Pass It Back by making a donation or even joining the duo for part of their adventure. Follow the race here on DHL InMotion for regular updates, photos and messages from Ron and James as they pedal their way to Rugby World Cup 2019™.
Learn more about ChildFund Pass It Back at childfundpassitback.org.