Fundraising Rugby World Cup fans sick of cycling around the world

18:53, Oct 04 2011
Nearly there
NEARLY THERE: British couple Tom Hudson and Jodie Burton in Hamilton on the final leg of their globe-trotting 28,000 kilometre bike ride to New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup.

After a gruelling 28,000 kilometres biking through the Himalayas, past Osama bin Laden's Pakistan hideout and finally New Zealand, Tom Hudson plans to sell his bike.

Low-ball offers would be happily accepted, too, as long as he never saw the bike again.

After almost 17 months travelling the globe promoting rugby and raising funds for charity with girlfriend Jodie Burton, the final few kilometres to Eden Park and the Rugby World Cup are proving a struggle.

"I'm over the cycling," he laughs. "There is nothing enjoyable about the cycling anymore. I want to buy a car and explore New Zealand now."

Nine months in the planning, their $10 a day trip has taken them from Twickenham, through the wilds of Laos, past bears in Romania – which "shook us up a bit" – and ultimately will end on October 20 at Eden Park.

The British couple, both 30 years old, combined Mr Hudson's love of rugby with a desire by Ms Burton to see the world more intimately.


"We did not want to travel the world as the usual backpacker," Ms Burton said.

While she was not a die-hard rugby fan to begin with, the idea of raising the awareness of the sport has taken hold.

After the pair move to Australia to study, they will also set-up a global rugby project to unite buddy clubs in western countries with more remote countries.

The couple are cheering on England and the All Blacks, and will be in the stands for the semifinals after a Wellington rugby fan gave them tickets.

"Our $10 a day couldn't quite stretch to the final games," Mr Hudson said. "But it is enough we will be in Auckland."

Even the loss of Dan Carter from the squad has not dampened their enthusiasm for the All Blacks. "The expectations on the team are now on a level playing field.

"I hope there is a little bit of destiny to the tournament and the cup remains here, considering what has happened recently [with the Christchurch earthquakes]."

The couple have raised almost $13,000 towards the British based Tag Rugby Development Trust and Rays of Sunshine. They ultimately hope their travels will raise awareness that rugby is played in far-flung countries.

Waikato Times