Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Freight Forwarding and Logistics Outfit Join Charity Drive (or rather Cycle) with Rugby World Cup

Ambitious Pair Have to Pedal Through 23 Countries in 231+ Days to Reach Japan
Shipping News Feature
UK – JAPAN – AND ALL POINTS IN BETWEEN – Both the game of rugby and the freight forwarding and logistics industries tend to have big hearts and now the two come together in the latest charitable initiative sponsored by shipping giants DHL.

Two keen rugby enthusiasts, Ron Rutland and James Owens, are about to set off on the bike ride of a lifetime, pedalling from the heart of the game at ‘HQ’, Twickenham Stadium, to Tokyo, seat of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, in a journey commencing on 2 February 2019 and aiming to arrive for the opening game, Russia versus the host nation and taking them through 23 countries over 231 days.

The journey aims to raise significant funds and awareness for ChildFund Pass It Back, a key component of World Rugby's Impact Beyond programme for Rugby World Cup 2019, and a partner of the tournament's Official Logistics Partner, DHL. In an exciting world first, Ron and James will deliver the official match whistle from the home of the Final of RWC 2015, Twickenham Stadium, to Tokyo Stadium on 19 September, one day before that first game.

ChildFund Pass It Back is an innovative sport for development programme led by ChildFund in partnership with World Rugby and Asia Rugby. The programme delivers an integrated life skills and rugby curriculum for children and young people in disadvantaged communities across Asia. The programme's objectives are to equip children and young people to overcome challenges, inspire positive social change and 'pass it back' to their communities.

DHL’s international transport experience provides a solid basis for the needs of such a long and difficult trip and Ron Rutland, who previously cycled through every African country to arrive for Rugby World Cup 2015, quipped that without DHL's support on that trip, he would have probably have been six months late for the kick-off!

Ron has an interesting pedigree in such journeys, the former amateur rugby player and entrepreneur undertook a world-first unsupported solo bicycle journey through the entire continent of Africa followed by world-record-breaking hole of golf across untouched landscapes of Mongolia. After Mongolia, Ron worked with the Hong Kong Rugby Union, which exposed the adventurer to more sport for development and the work of so many inspiring rugby projects in Asia.

With the Rugby World Cup coming to Asia for the very first time, Ron saw a once-in-a-generation opportunity for a personal ‘Race to RWC’ to raise money and awareness for RWC's official charity partner, ChildFund Pass It Back. Meanwhile trip partner James Owens was born and raised in Hong Kong and has both played and coached rugby. He is passionate about using sport as a tool for social change and in 2015 joined ChildFund to work on its rugby for development programme, ChildFund Pass It Back.

James has been inspired by the programme’s commitment to utilising sport to help children and youth in disadvantaged communities, and its success in building the resilience of participants and their ability to face the significant challenges associated with poverty and inequality. Having spent the last 3 years working as a Regional Operations Officer for ChildFund Pass It Back, James is now an Ambassador for the programme as well as Ron's cycling partner during ‘Race to RWC’.

DHL and ‘Race to RWC’ will host several events to support ChildFund Pass It Back. Opening with a fundraising dinner at The Stoop in Twickenham, London and home to the Harlequins on Thursday 31 January 2019. At this event, various legends of the rugby world, special guests and World Rugby representatives will be in attendance.

Cycling and rugby enthusiasts are also invited to join Ron and James' departure from Twickenham Stadium and cycle alongside them and rugby legends to Canterbury. The cycling group will be welcomed at Canterbury Rugby Club to enjoy the Ireland vs England game live on screen that evening. Ron and James are also encouraging the more experienced and adventurous cyclists to cycle 694 kilometres with them for the first five days of ‘Race to RWC’, taking them from London to Bonn, Germany. All event participants are encouraged to help raise funds for ChildFund Pass It Back.

More information, live tracking from the expedition, donations, registrations and event tickets can all be found HERE.

Photo: James Owens and Ron Rutland.