It is time yet again for the Rickshaw Run to hit the road. Organized by the UK based company “The League of Adventurists”, the rickshaw run is the largest three-wheeler event. With 104 teams and 275 participants, this edition will be the one of the biggest runs yet since the first rickshaw run in 2006 and participants will be travelling from Kochi,Kerala to Jaisalmer, Rajasthan.
The team members from around the world are now gathering in Kochi and meeting their rickshaws for the first time. After a celebration to mark the beginning of the New Year and the launch of the event, they are about to embark on a journey to Jaisalmer, in the vast deserts of Rajasthan. The teams have no set route, no back up along the way, and are completely on their own.
Matthew Dickens, the event manager maintains a stiff British upper lip through the frenzy of activity in Kochi where the teams are preparing their rickshaws in anticipation of the grand launch on Friday 1st January. The participants representing 22 countries shall be riding 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 at the pit stop in Palolem, Goa on Tuesday 5th January before setting north. What makes this journey noble is the fact that each team raises £1000 for charity, with at least half of this going towards the official rain-forest preservation charity known as Cool Earth.
Kochi is the birthplace of the Rickshaw Run and is therefore dear to the event. It is 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. Dickens said, “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 exploring the country. The league of adventurists international currently organizes 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.