Burabike by Bulat Utemuratov – Biggest Fundraiser in Kazakhstan
Burabike is a charity bike ride, from 2013 held regularly in the Shuchinsk-Borovoye resort zone. The number of the event participants is growing steadily – the sixth Burabike in 2018 saw two and a half thousand Kazakhstanis and guests from abroad registered for it. This is almost 20 times more than it was in the pilot year of 2013. This year the interest was so high that the organizers had to close registration ahead of schedule – the maximum possible number of persons willing to take part has come up well before the start on 30 August. In six years the event turned into a large-scale music and sports festival where, in addition to the 30 km bicycle race, a charity auction and a fair, a souvenir shop, useful masterclasses, entertainment programmes for children, a concert of Kazakhstani singers and musicians, lotteries and sports shows are held.
The mission of Burabike is fundraising for purchasing vitally important medical equipment and donating it to children’s hospitals and rehabilitation centers of the country. It is for this purpose that Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation and the Rixos-Borovoye Resort Hotel arrange annual bike-a-thons. The effectiveness of the event has been growing fast – this year almost 560 000 USD was collected, that is 18 times more than in 2013.
The charitable contribution for the bike ride participation in 2018 was about 14 dollars. Proceeds from sales of auction items and fair exhibits were complemented by donations made by the bike ride participants and corporate contributions of philanthropists. Auction items are, as a rule, provided by famous sportsmen. These are personal items given by the Astana Pro Team members (uniform clothes, bikes, autographed items), well-known tennis and football players, celebrities. Fascinating things are put up for auction by commercial organizations and top banks.
One more type of auction items popular among the Burabike participants are pieces of work by autist children who are taken care of in the rehabilitation centers set up by Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation.
Anyone can take part in Burabike. For example, the youngest Burabike-2015 participant was 8 years old. Well-known athletes and celebrities work the pedals by the side of businessmen, top managers, journalists, engineers, marketing experts, and civil servants. This is a unique opportunity to take a ride together with Olympic champion bicycle racer Alexander Vinokurov, Vincenzo Nibali (Tour de France 2014 gold winner), the Astana Pro Team members, and other professionals. This year’s race was led by Alexey Lutsenko, two-time gold medalist of Asiada-2018. In total over 700 people covered their dream 30 kilometers in Burabike-2018.
Only desire and timely registration are needed to become a participant in this project. Taking into account the increasing popularity of the event, it is worth not to delay the 30-kilometer. You can ride just a part of the route and then go to a picnic arranged for the festivity guests by the Rixos Borovoye staff. Those participants of the event who prefer to stand in as fans will traditionally enjoy the fair, concerts, various masterclasses, and animation shows.
Every year arrangements for the bicycle race and accompanying events are made by:
- Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation. The charity, organized in 2014 by Bulat Utemuratov, has focused on rendering assistance to children with autistic spectrum disorders-autism centers were opened in six cities of Kazakhstan. Currently, the Foundation is covering a wide range of social programmes – renders assistance to children with infantile cerebral palsy and families affected by natural disasters, supports culture and arts, promotes a healthy lifestyle and develops creative skills in the rising generation. The Foundation spends Burabike charity contributions to purchase medical equipment for urban and rural children’s hospitals, perinatal centres, children’s health institutions of various profiles. The Foundation does not give direct, targeted assistance but concentrates its efforts on the implementation of system social programmes in the sector of children’s health care.
- 5-star Resort Hotel Rixos Borovoe. Located on the shores of the Lake Shuchie, this hotel is encircled by birches and pines. The distinctive feature of this resort is an exclusive for Kazakhstan mixture of premium servicing and home coziness. Guests staying in any of the 200 rooms can combine luxury SPA recreation with business. Fully equipped conference rooms, a ballroom, bars and restaurants, a modern SPA centre is put at their disposal.
In 2018, the bike ride participants have overcome the 30-kilometre route laid in pine woods of the Shuchinsk-Borovoye resort zone. They started at Rixos Borovoe, rode along R-23 highway up to Borovoye where turned around and rode back. To secure the full safety of the bike ride participants, all roads leading to the hotel or crossing the route as well the Shuchinsk-Borovoye road were closed from 10.00 am to 02:00 pm.
- 2013. About 140 people, mostly top management of well-known corporations and civil servants, took part in the event. The peloton was led by Olympic champion Alexander Vinokourov, who since then has been continuously participating in Burabike. Proceeds came mainly from the charity auction where organizers raised KZT 11.5 mln. All funds were spent to purchase medical equipment for the Akmola Oblast Perinatal Centre, thus increasing the chance for survival of premature babies under 1 kg born there fivefold.
- 2014. Astana Pro Team, Vincenzo Nibali and Olympic cross-country skier Vladimir Smirnov joined the bike ride. 178 people came to take part in the event. Charity sales brought about KZT 87 mln later spent on medical equipment for the Akmola and Kyzlorda Perinatal Centers.
- 2015. Over 300 of those wishing to participate registered for Burabike-2015. They included Arystanbek Mukhamediuly and famous weightlifter Ilya Ilyin. Funds amounting to KZT 104 mln made from auctioned items and fair souvenirs were given to Shuchinsk, Akmola and Kzylorda infant orphanages, care homes, rehabilitation centers, children’s infectious hospitals.
- 2016. Burabike 2016 gathered about 500 of those wishing to participate including Bulat Utemuratov and about three hundred representatives of top management of high-profile companies. Around 1,500 spectators were watching the happenings. The registration fee and corporate contributions supplemented proceeds from charity sales. Having summed up the financial results of the event, Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation sent about KZT 100 mln for purchasing equipment for the Akmola Oblast and Kzylorda district children’s hospitals.
- 2017. Over one thousand people registered for Burabike-2017 and about 700 out of them successfully finished the race. Charity contributions and registration fees, auction and fair proceeds totaled up to KZT 168 mln. This money was used to promptly buy vitally important medical equipment for hospitals, perinatal centers, and other children’s institutions in Aktobe, Uralsk, Taldykorgan, and Petropavlovsk.
How Burabike-2018 was held
Over 2,000 guests attended this year’s bike ride event. There were much more of those who wished to attend, so the organizers had to close the registration almost two weeks before the start to ensure safety and comfortable accommodation of the participants. Burabike-2018 participants enjoyed free transfers from Astana to Shuchinsk. Those wishing to use this service gathered early in the morning near the circus building. Bicycles were transported separately. Anyone choosing so could get to Rixos Borovoe on their own.
- At 8.30 am, distribution of start numbers and bicycles to the bike ride participants started.
- At 10.00 am, all roads and access ways were closed. Rixos Borovoe animators entertained guests of all ages. Children and adults learned how to paint with oil-colors, weave bracelets, make slimes, whittle, did yoga and fitness exercises, fathomed secrets of bathing and fishing mastery. Children ventured in theatre and circus staging, painted eco-bags and badges, and adults played golf.
- At 11.00 am, the bike ride started. The charity fair opened at the same time. Up until 4.00 pm, it was enhanced by lotteries and concert programmes.
- At 13.00 pm, the bike ride participants and guests went to the picnic arranged by the Rixos Borovoe staff.
- Animation programmes and the fair finished at about 4.00 pm. Most guests went home (if they wished they could use the transfer offered, others made their ways).
Alongside the boost of emotions caused by doing good works, unforgettable impressions and picturesque photos, all the bike ride participants got medals, gifts, and valuable prizes. Many of those who spent their day together with Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation and Rixos Borovoye took back with them paintings, handicrafts, and pieces of other kinds of arts created by children with autistic spectrum disorders. This means that very soon district children’s hospitals of the Zhambyl, North Kazakhstan, Almaty and Karaganda Oblasts will get new vital medical equipment.