One event that has been on my bucket list for nearly two years is the fundraising race known as the Rickshaw Run. The specific race I strive to compete in is known as the Deccan Odyssey. It’s a nine-day long race that covers 1,100 kilometers across India, one of the most daring things you can do. This adventure kicks off in Panaji, a capital city known for its abundance of temples, and you have to make it all the way to Mumbai…with just your team of three…without a map or specific route. You will encounter unpredictable weather conditions, an intense culture blasts, wildlife, and most impressive views of India as you travel through the Konkan coast.
The race begins and ends with a massive party, where you’re guaranteed to meet memorable people and find passionate friends. A helpful kit is presented to you upon arrival, that includes a little more than a map and phrasebook. Your rickshaw, or tuk-tuk, is a small, motorcycle-like vehicle with a powerful engine; common transportation in India. Yours is promised to break down, so it’s best to have some auto-knowledge. It’s also helpful to know that it won’t be too hard to find a local willing to fix it for you in a short period of time. However, you’re not going into this without being introduced to the vehicle. Everyone will participate in a training day, right after you arrive in Panaji, that will teach you everything from how to drive the rickshaw to how to repair it on your own.
One of the most appealing aspects of the Rickshaw Run is what they call “Pimp My Shaw”. Every team gets to decorate and customize their own tuk-tuk at the beginning of the race. It would be ideal to have some creative minds on your team to give the real artistic touch. Explore a local bazaar to find anything from strings of fake flowers, decorative fabrics and cushions for your seat, vibrant and colorful paint, and beads to make your tuk-tuk your own. A team consists of three people at most, so think up a name for yourselves and maybe a logo too! Advertise yourself on your car!
A main goal of the whole event is to benefit the real people of India. Donations make their way through schools, small towns, to the citizens themselves. Rickshaw Run also prides themselves on taking part of responsible tourism. You will be able to understand what life in India is really like.
Besides the thrilling tale you’ll be able to tell and the custom team t-shirts, what do you get when you complete your journey? A great and powerful personal triumph would be enough for me. Even more compelling is that every participant will receive a certain amount of credits towards your next trip, a sort of gift to welcome you back into your next stage of the games. All of this along with a big, shiny metal, of course. Keep in mind, it’s not all fun and games. There will be storms and your tuk-tuk will break down at the worst possible time, leaving you unable to find a handyman to fix it up for you. The Rickshaw Run is not for everybody but those who do accept it will be taking on a huge challenge. But with enough dedication and teamwork, you and your friends can achieve anything. Now let the games begin. I’ll see you there.
To find more information on Rickshaw Run, click here.
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