Rick­shaw run a real taste of In­dian life

Central Otago Mirror - - FEATURES - By SUE FEA

They bat­tled bed­lam on In­dian streets, froze their butts off in the desert and toughed it out in very ba­sic lodg­ings, but four Ar­row­town ad­ven­tur­ers com­pleted the gru­elling Rick­shaw Run in Jan­uary.

Lisa and Ed­ward Guy, and Heather and Warwick We­ber, left their young fam­i­lies with grand­par­ents and set off on Box­ing Day last year on their two-week, third-world ad­ven­ture.

Rick­shaw Run is a global fundrais­ing event for Cool Earth, which tar­gets threat­ened rain­forests.

Ten of the 78 in­ter­na­tional teams en­tered in the 3500 kilo­me­tre global fundrais­ing event for Cool Earth failed to cross the fin­ish line by the dead­line.

How­ever, the re­source­ful Ki­wis rose at 5am daily, en­dur­ing 10-hour days in their as­signed rick­ety rick­shaws – seven horse­power glo­ri­fied lawn­mow­ers – and the Guys en­dured four break­downs.

They crawled from the Thar Desert in Jaisalmer, south to the Kochi fin­ish line, reach­ing speeds of no more than 45kmh.

‘‘The last four hours were in­cred­i­bly chal­leng­ing,’’ Ms Guy said.

‘‘We only just made it right on 4pm. We had 11 min­utes to travel 12 kilo­me­tres.’’

‘‘We de­lib­er­ately took as long as we took, de­ter­mined to take as much out of the ex­pe­ri­ence as we could.’’

Some teams en­dured more than 50 break­downs.

Oth­ers rolled their rick­shaws and suf­fered mi­nor in­juries, while one had a head-on col­li­sion and an­other hit a sheep.

They un­ex­pect­edly struck cel­e­bra­tions of Muhammed’s birth­day on the last stretch, so ev­ery vil­lage had a full pro­ces­sion block­ing its streets.

‘‘Then at mid­day we hit strik­ing truck­ers protest­ing tolls, who had blocked all the roads with huge boul­ders, barbed wire and build­ing ma­te­ri­als. It was bed­lam,’’ Mrs Guy said.

‘‘It was very ba­sic lodg­ings. In one case we had to wrap a sarong around the pil­low, be­cause the sheets were so stained.’’

For a cou­ple of nights they were able to treat them­selves to five-star ac­com­mo­da­tion, rais­ing eye­brows as they rolled up in their old rick­shaws.

The In­dian people in all the vil­lages they passed through were ex­tremely wel­com­ing.

‘‘We felt like 1.2 bil­lion people stepped for­ward to wel­come us. We were even taken into people’s homes to stay and if we broke down they stayed with us un­til help ar­rived,’’ Mrs Guy said.

‘‘The dust on the roads was in­cred­i­ble.

‘‘But we fell in love with our crappy rick­shaws. We cried when we had to give them back,’’ she laughed.

The event raised $75,000 for Cool Earth. The Guys have also so far raised more than $4400 for their cho­sen Live More Awe­some char­ity and the We­bers more than $1200 for FRANK Wa­ter with do­na­tions still com­ing in.

To do­nate see thead­ven­tur­ists.com or phone 027 220 1676.

Pho­tos: SUP­PLIED

Rid­ers: From left, Warwick and Heather We­ber, and Lisa and Ed­ward Guy with the rick­ety rick­shaws that took them 3500km around In­dia.

In­trepid: From left, Lisa and Ed­ward Guy, and Heather and Warwick We­ber on the Rick­shaw Run in In­dia.

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