It is time yet again for the Rickshaw Run to hit the road. Organised by UK company The League of Adventurists, the Rickshaw Run is the largest three-wheeler event on the planet. With its 104 teams and 275 participants, this edition will be the biggest one yet since the first Rickshaw Run in 2006.
The brave team members from around the world are now gathering in Kochi and meeting their marvellously painted rickshaws for the first time. After a magnificent celebration to mark the beginning of the new year and the launch of the event, they are about to embark on an epic journey to Jaisalmer, in the vast deserts of Rajasthan. The teams have no set route, no back up along the way, and are truly on their own.
Event Manager Matthew Dickens, maintains a stiff British upper lip through the frenzy of activity in Kochi where the 104 teams are prepping and pimping their rickshaws in anticipation of the grand launch on Friday 1st January. The participants representing 22 countries shall be riding, rolling and wiggling their way across the subcontinent in their tinny steeds covering approximately 3500kms on their way to Jaisalmer. They will gather together for a catch up, dance and a dip in the ocean at the pit stop in Palolem, Goa on Tuesday 5th January before setting north. What makes this journey even more memorable and noble is the fact that each team raises £1000 for charity – with at least half of this going towards the official rainforest preservation charity – Cool Earth.
The League of Adventurists International, based in Bristol, are at the helm of many similar events around the world: “This event certainly has a lighter side, but the important message is clear…We plan to introduce our participants to the real India – this is not a typical package holiday. When the teams are lost, stuck and all hope seems futile, Mother India and the heart-warming generosity of the Indian people shall envelope them in a fondness that many would not have encountered before. We also like to bring attention to the beauty of lesser travelled places such as Kochi and Jaisalmer. Needless to say we’re thrilled to be raising an awfully large amount of money for worthy charities across the nation too. The Rickshaw Run has now raised well over £2,000,000 (around $3.1 million) – which is a huge boost to the good work that these charities and our official charity Cool Earth are doing. In fact, each Rickshaw Run raises enough money for Cool Earth to save 150,000 trees in some of the most endangered rainforest in the world.”
Kochi is the birthplace of the Rickshaw Run and is therefore very dear to the event. With its charming and quaint streets it makes an ideal place for the start line of the event, where the teams can relax before commencing on their journey.
The Rickshaw Run has now been going to Jaisalmer for five years. Mr Dickens goes on to say:
“Jaisalmer is a place dripping with history and the sandstone fort rising majestically from the middle of the Thar desert screams adventure like possibly nowhere else in India.”
For many of the participants it will be many firsts – whether it’s travelling to India, driving a rickshaw or just experiencing the enthusiasm and love that the people of this country are so famous for.
What better moment than to interject a poem written all those years ago that we feel encapsulates the very essence of the run –
Poem to the Soul’s Journey on a three-leggéd mule
There in the dark and fearful night
Forged by colour’s flight
Where limbs become the sweat of rivers gain
Swollen through the bloods bank tunnel.
Where veins crouch low seeking shelter
Weeping to maintain the afterglow of chill.
Who would have thought this landscape industrial,
Dun-coloured, yellow-tanned and orange breasted
Would bleed into your very souls?
As you ride the beast against its tide
Triad dragon, burning horse, tireless three-leggéd stallion
Onward! On beneath the upturned azure sky-sea
Medallion of everything!
Oh you poorly stricken things
Filling with tears night glade.
‘Till dawn does lift you up
To places you once again
On the lips door of this most beautiful land.
India kisses you and holds you to her breast
As you cross the finish line.
From ‘Heartland, Overland’ by Dagmar Selmar Vidaqvist ©1938
The next few days as the teams pour into Kochi will no doubt be packed with energy, colour, noise, nerves and excitement. Let the merriment begin!
The League of Adventurists International currently organises six events worldwide including the Mongol Rally and the Mongol Derby which are the largest car rally in the world and the longest horse race in the world respectively. For more information please log onto their website.
www.theadventurists.com www.coolearth.org www.rickshawrun.com
For media images please visit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/adventurists/sets/72157650867408201
For media queries:
The League of Adventurists International
Schedule of events for Kochi:
28/12/2015 – 31/12/2015. The official January 2016 Rickshaw Run Start Line in Kochi opens at the United Club in Fort Kochi
31/12/2015, 14:00 – Rickshaw Run team vs local players in exhibition cricket match – Parade Ground, Fort Kochi
1/01/2016. 10:00 – The official launch of the January 2016 Rickshaw Run – Parade Ground, Fort Kochi