Beginning in Southern India on 28 December with a game of cricket, the brave souls are taking on the ultimate Christmas adventure in the world’s most unsuitable vehicle – the auto-Rickshaw.
“These things are uncomfortable, loud, smelly and in every imaginable way crap, they’re the perfect vehicle to tackle a monstrous 2000-mile adventure over wild terrain and dirt tracks. They’re only 150cc and will break down on us at every possible and inconvenient point. Think of them as a motorised mule,” says event organiser Tom Morgan.
There is no back up or support of any kind – teams are talking on the gruelling challenge entirely independently. The knackered, bruised and dirty teams that manage to make it all the way are expected to arrive for a celebratory cup of tea in Darjeeling after roughly two weeks.
Matt Dickens, a 26-year old painter and decorator from Bristol, UK, is taking on the Rickshaw Run with his girlfriend Hannah.
“It just sounded too crazy not to do,” said Matt. “We did ‘um’ and ‘aah’ for a while but I’m a huge fan of Gin and Tonic and it sounds like a proper adventure, as well as being a great way to contribute something to the people out there.”
Event Organiser, Tom Morgan, who is also responsible for unleashing the hugely successful Mongol Rally on the world, said:
“The Rickshaw Run is going to be incredible fun although it’s also going to hurt like hell and I doubt I’ll be walking straight for a while. It’s also great to be able to help out some of the poorer members of the communities we’ll be visiting.”
At the end of the Rickshaw Run, all the teams’ Rickshaws will be donated to charity, and will form a co-operative to lease rickshaws to drivers who would normally suffer the fate of excessive hire charges and exorbitant loans that curtail any hope of making a real living. The gift of Rickshaws will help to combat this injustice common to poor auto-Rickshaw drivers and their families and make a real difference for years. The gift of the Rickshaws is being co-ordinated a local NGO, monitored by Mercy Corps UK.
The first ever Rickshaw Run will be sponsored by .travel. Established to lift the tourism industry out of the anonymity of the ³.com² web, travel empowers the broad spectrum of bona fide travel-related businesses and organizations to better promote their products and services within their own industry specific space on the Internet.
“We are proud to be the title sponsor for this amazing event and worthwhile cause,” expressed Ron Andruff, president of Tralliance, the .travel Registry. “As part of an initiative that promotes a new age of travel and with a goal to bring together the global travel community, we believe .travel provides the perfect ally for the Rickshaw Run.”