On Wednesday I had the great privilege of representing my team, Baatar Hero — along with Christine from team Just A Steppe Away and Joy Portella from Mercy Corps — as guests on Margaret Larson's new show, New Day Northwest!
Freshly back and armed with footage from our road trip to Colorado to meet the other North American teams, Christine and I answered questions about our upcoming adventure — the Mongol Rally — an annual 10,000 mile charity drive from London, England to Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia. Joy, Mercy Corps' Communications Director, talked about some of the amazing programs Mercy Corps operates in Mongolia, which benefit from the money that our teams and the rally raise.
Wait, 10,000 miles?!?
In 2004, the first official Mongol Rally (borne from a silly idea with a Fiat 125) only had four of the six teams make it to Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia. This year, more than 350 teams will partake in the journey and, together, they will raise a million pounds (more than $1.4 million) for charities like Mercy Corps via fundraised cash and car donations upon arrival. Teams can take as long as they want and can take whatever route they choose. If it's your wish to go up and down Sweden, so be it!
The organizers want to make it as much of an adventure as possible. They want us to break down and scratch our heads in confusion. If we use gum to patch up any holes, all the better.
So the rule is to take cars with a 1.2 liter engine or smaller. Fees are issued and special permission is necessary for anything larger, though service vehicles are considered an exemption. If you can believe it, one year a team called "Great Balls of Fur" drove a big, red fire engine donned in fake red fur all the way to Ulaan Baatar!
Though primarily a rally with European teams, Seattle is home to the most teams in North America — 4 out of 44. In addition to Baatar Hero and Just A Steppe Away, our friends at Team Erro and Abandon The Cube will join us on the starting line. We'll be in our two Fiat Puntos that we are picking up in Manchester this weekend (thanks F5!) and not feeling too guilty about all carbon we'll be emitting since we have offset our whole journey (thanks TerraPass!).
Now all of this I wanted to say on New Day Northwest — but alas, nerves and time got the better of us. Margaret (former anchor for the Today Show and Dateline NBC, and perhaps more famously known to this audience as former VP of Communications for Mercy Corps) was a gracious host and invited us back to the show when we return with footage and stories. It was so much fun to meet her and get the word out!
Check out the full interview here — and talk to you all again soon.