Ron Rutland from KwaZulu-Natal and Adam Nunn from Sea Point have embarked on an adventure of a lifetime this month, cycling 45 000km to deliver the official match whistles to the referees for the opening games of both the women’s Rugby World Cup (RWC) in New Zealand in October 2022 and the men’s Rugby World Cup in France, which kicks off in September 2023.
The main aim of their 600-day odyssey, which began at the Cape Town Stadium in Green Point, is to raise $500 000 (R7.7m) for ChildFund Rugby, which gives young people from disadvantaged communities the opportunity to play, learn and grow.
According to sponsors Birkenstock, the duo embarked on their first journey on January 16 from Cape Town and arrived in Namibia on January 24. They will cycle through 48 countries across six continents. To support the charity drive, fans can “buy” a kilometre of their journey, which they are selling for $10 for each of the 45 000km.
The duo, sponsored by Birkenstock footwear, is currently cycling north of Asab, a town in southern Namibia, on their way to Windhoek.
“We’re both curious individuals and massive rugby fans, who love cycling, travel and living life on our own terms. So, we are combining these attributes to explore the world of rugby from the back of our bikes while on this fund-raising mission,” explained Rutland, who is also co-founder of the Cape Town 10s.
“We will average about 100km per day, be it in the heat of the Namibian summer, to the mid-winter freeze of Georgia, to the altitude of the Andes in South America. We have the adventure of a lifetime ahead of us,” he added.
While the trip will include several flights, the most extended unbroken cycling leg will be about 22 000km from Santiago in Chile to New York City.