Amateur adventurers launch from South India on New Year’s Day for unsupported 3000km tuk tuk journey
Driving the length of India in three-wheeled auto-rickshaws designed for short cityjaunts and raising masses of money for charity
57 amateur teams from around the world set off on New Year’s Day to take on the Rickshaw Run, organised by UK based The Adventurists. Starting from Pondicherry in the far south of India, they are now forcing wholly unsuitable tiny three-wheeled tuk-tuks all the way to Shillong in the distant north east, about 3000 kilometres and two weeks away!
Right from the start the chaotic adventure started doing what is says on the tin – a team accidentally rolled their rickshaw on the test driving day and two teams crashed into each other before leaving the start city of Pondicherry.
Nobody was injured but it’s an early reminder of the nature of the beast.
With massive support from Pondicherry’s Tourism Department, the launch was held on the high-profile beach-side promenade under a huge statue of Mahatma Gandhi.
John Bodycombe, an American member of team Madcap Blunderbus said:
“The entire send off turned out to be a coordinated event with the Pondicherry Department of Tourism and we had everything from dancers to a band to large numbers of onlookers who were there taking photos and sending us off.
“The experience was completely amazing. Everyone who saw us immediately had a smile on their face.”
And the first day of driving didn’t disappoint the teams. Team Cumin or Goan sent this SMS text message to the official website, which tracks the team’s progress on a map:
“Phew! End of first day's driving. Piloting a 'shaw' is exhilarating. One moment, certain death...the next you're waving at children. Life in india is so rich in experience that it's overwhelming until you realise that all you can do is chart a path through it and hope that it works.”
Niraj Lama, The Adventurists’ director in India said:
“This is the 5th Rickshaw Run and once again the local authorities have given us fantastic support. The Pondicherry Tourism Secretary came to the launch to wish the teams well and his department’s help was vital for making it such a success.
“The mix of extreme unsupported adventure and raising large sums of money for charity is great for promoting tourism in India and getting much needed charity funds to projects that make a big difference in people’s lives. The teams are also a really mixed bunch from all sorts of backgrounds and they did a great job of entertaining the crowds here in Pondicherry!”
The teams are sending live updates from the road direct to the official website now! Live SMS text messages, blogs, photos and the odd video can be found on the official website:
Each team taking part in the Rickshaw Run has to raise at least £1000 for the official charities Mercy Corps and Frank Water, so the adventure will raise over £60,000 and have a fantastic positive impact through the excellent work of these charities.
Frank Water provides sustainable sources of clean drinking water to communities who desperately need it. Mercy Corps works with disadvantaged communities in north east India, improving collaboration and fulfilling vital health and economic needs.
About The Adventurists and Rickshaw Run
Flush your guide books down the loo people. Join The Adventurists in our battle with an increasingly boring, sanitised world.We hold what we like to think are proper adventures, the sort where you have to use your own cunning; no guides, no rules and only a small chance of making it to the other end with all your limbs. It's not just about adventure, The Adventurists are hell bent on saving the world as well as making it less boring, so all our adventures raise heaps of cash for charity. The gaggle of adventures now stands at a mighty 5, but the Rickshaw Run is one of the most popular. The demand for two weeks of cross-continent three-wheeled mayhem in a vehicle design for short urban trips is so high there will be three Rickshaw Runs a year from 2009!
About FRANK Water Projects – Official CharityFRANK Water is a pioneering charity that funds sustainable, community run, 5-filter, ultra violet clean water projects. We're direct, honest, transparent and candid - that's why we're called FRANK. We also raise public awareness of global water and related health issues. We work very closely with local NGOs to install our projects and insist on direct line of sight to every project pre and post installation. By October 2008 FRANK Water will have funded 10 projects in India, with many more in development - benefitting over 100,000 people. For more information on the projects please visit the FRANK Water Projects page:http://www.frankwaterprojects.org
About Mercy Corps – Official CharityMercy Corps have been the official charity from inaugural Rickshaw Run back in 2006 through to 2008. Mercy Corps' assistance to India dates back to January 2001 when the agency responded to a devastating earthquake in Gujarat . Today, Mercy Corps is working in India to build community collaboration and fulfil dire health and economic needs. The Himalayan foothills around Darjeeling, India are home to some of the world's finest teas - and some of Asia's poorest families. For more information visit the Rickshaw Run section of the Mercy Corps website:http://www.mercycorps.org.uk/rickshawrun/
About Tom Morgan, founder of The Adventurists and Rickshaw RunWhile getting stuck, broke and in trouble all over the world he realised it was filling the void in his adventure starved life. Mr Tom felt the inexorable need to share his “insight” with the world and so way back in 2001 he did. Three years later people started listening. He can usually be found pacing backwards and forwards coming up with stupid ideas.The League of Adventurists was formed to mould Tom’s hobby into an adventure revolution and is now known as The Adventurists. It has offices in England, India and Mongolia and in 2007 won the Shell Livewire Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the UK. In 2009, a massive 950 teams from more than 20 different countries will take part in slightly ridiculous adventures across four continents. The teams all have to raise money for charity to take part too, and by the end of next year the total donated directly to awesome causes will be almost £2 million!Nat Geo Adventure Magazine recently wrote an article about Tom Morgan, saying: “…what began as an inside joke is now an adventure travel phenomenon.”