Hi, my name is Ron Rutland.
And I am about to embark on an adventure of a lifetime and would love to invite you along for the ride!
In just 7 days’ time as I write this, at 8am on the 12th of November 2022, I will be taking the first few tentative pedal strokes of a 22,000km fundraising bicycle ride from New Zealand’s legendary Eden Park in Auckland to the equally famous Stade de France in Paris, which I plan to reach on the 7th of September 2023. This 300-day journey will take me through 25 countries on 4 continents, and I cannot wait. But I need help to get this project off the ground.
- I am working hard at it, but I haven't yet secured a commercial partner.
- Cycling is a pretty economical way to travel, but there are some not insignificant upfront hard costs to cover in addition to the basic day to day expenses of life on the road.
- Riding 30-40 hours/week, for 42 weeks in a row, is tiring work - so a good night's sleep and a few cold refreshments from time to time are a necessity, not a luxury!
So thank you for your consideration in getting behind this appeal - every cent of support will be enormously appreciated and make a huge difference, practically and mentally!
Cheers, I need to get riding,
And for those with the time to read on, below is the full background to this #RaceToRWC, more detail on how this journey came about, details on the planned fundraising efforts for (the incredible) ChildFund Rugby, and of course this appeal itself.
Over the course of the last 10 years, I have cycled some 80,000km through more than 100 countries between Rugby World Cup’s, raising money for incredible organisations, delivering whistles, connecting with tens of thousands of people, and (mostly) having the time of my life doing it.
- 2013 to 2015 - Africa and Europe. Cape Town to the 2015 men’s RWC in England, through (almost) every country in Africa. 42,500km, 27 months, 70 countries, alone. My reward? South Africa lost to Japan in their opening game.
- 2019 – Europe and Asia. The journey continued. From Twickenham to Tokyo for the 2019 men’s RWC in Japan. 20,500km, 8 months, 23 countries, and this time with a riding partner, James Owens. Raised a lot of money for ChildFund Rugby, delivered the match whistle for the opening game, and South Africa won the tournament.
- 2022 – Asia and Oceania. And the journey continued again. From Tokyo to Auckland for the 2021 women’s RWC in New Zealand. 16,500km, 7 months, 11 countries, with riding partner Adam Nunn. Once again raised money for ChildFund Rugby and delivered the match whistle for the opening game. South Africa played their guts out.
And now…the plan to complete this journey I started a decade ago
- 2022 to 2023 – Oceania (briefly), South America, North America, and Europe. The final instalment. From Auckland to Paris, via the Americas, for the 2023 men’s RWC in France. 22,000km, 10 months, 25 countries, building a team. Fundraising (hard) for ChildFund Rugby, delivering the whistle for the blockbuster opening game between France and New Zealand. Praying for South Africa to win back-to-back tournaments.
The current situation, and the ask and opportunity
The good news
- World Rugby have once again given their full endorsement to the #RaceToRWC and entrusting us with the very special commemorative match whistle that will be presented to the referee of the opening match of France 2023.
- ChildFund Rugby will once again be the beneficiary charity of the #RaceToRWC.
- These 48-year-old legs have recovered from the ride from Japan, and the fire inside still burns hot.
- We are having productive and positive discussions with potential commercial partners, with the big focus being on the final stretch through the US, Ireland, UK and France in July, August, and September 2023.
- This is the same leg that we will be focusing our fundraising efforts on for ChildFund Rugby – including the final 3 days - a 180-person, fundraising ride from Twickenham to Stade de France.
In the meantime, the clock is ticking, and I need to leave NZ and get through South and Central America so I can get to the US to make the above happen, and I’m humbly looking at building a #RaceToRWC support team to help me do that.
I am enormously grateful for all the support, in all its forms, I’ve received since I embarked on this journey of ‘fundraising adventure’ a decade ago, including from those friends that have encouraged me to launch this GoFundMe campaign. And it is already baring fruit, before it has even started! Incredible what happens when you ‘just ask.’ So, here I am, asking your help to continue this momentum and join the team.
In addition to the most fundamental needs of food and shelter and other basic running costs (bike repairs, connectivity, visas, etc.), there are some relatively high costs relating to content production and editing, and basecamp and website support, and a punchy travel insurance policy that need to be taken care of before any commercial partners come on board, and hence this appeal.
In return for your support, I promise to appreciate every day of the journey, to share the story enthusiastically, and where possible, 'pay it forward' in any way I can while on the road.
This is also an open and sincere invitation to all #RaceToRWC team members to join me on the road at any stage (roughly planned schedule and map in the 'links' section at the bottom of the page).
And once I reach the US, Ireland, UK, and France, I commit to doing absolutely everything I can, along with World Rugby, any commercial partners, and hopefully an old riding mate or two, to raise our target of $250,000 for ChildFund Rugby - but I need to get there first!
Finally, I am looking at the practicalities of setting up an exclusive ‘#RaceToRWC team’ WhatsApp group (opt-in of course, and only 1-way messages), on which I will share short daily (whenever possible) updates from the road. This will hopefully ensure that everyone who has helped keep the dream alive feels a real part of the journey.
If anyone has any questions, suggestions or comments, please email me directly at ron (at) ronrutland (dot) com
Thank you for considering being part of the team and helping keep the dream alive!
Humbly and sincerely,
Resources and links
Some 2015 links
Some 2019 links
We made a documentary - search for Everything In Between on TVNZ+ or at https://iwonder.com/titles/everything-in-between-d522e374ada9ce154bbbb5509a2fa229
Some 2021 links
#RaceToRWC2023 Map (part 1)
Our #RaceToRWC2023 Map (part 2)
Rough planned #RaceToRWC2023 Schedule