Rickshaw Run Chief Mr. Matt reports from Shillong on the chaos and relief as teams cross the finish line of the April 2013 edition in Shillong:
“Matt – I fucking hate you”. Quite the eloquent response to my simple “so how was your holiday then?”
Don’t worry – he was grinning from ear to ear at the time so I knew he didn’t mean it really. The April 2013 Rickshaw Run took its toll on our guys and gals this time around though. The brutal route and heat left out teams limping over the finish line. Literally in some cases.
Shillong's Pinewood Hotel braced itself for the carnival of noise and colour as all the teams rolled in. We only had four withdrawals from the adventure in total out of more than 70 teams that set off from Cochin. None of those were due to the rickshaw, so the vehicles did well (well, as well as can be expected).
The shenanigans of the adventurists who did cross the finish line were suitably ridiculous. Team Foreignia spent their last leg on the back of a very small truck, but had a corker of an adventure and finished in style:
Team Oznog Racing started with disaster and ended with heroics. They had a crash on the second day and did some damage to their shaw, but picked themselves up and carried on. For the last 60km of the Run they towed another team's rickshaw, uphill, on tricky roads. Their battered shaw proved it had a big heart under the beaten exterior... You can see Chris looking pretty pleased with himself just after finishing:
The football match in the stadium was fought bravely – just unfortunately without the correct result. Hailstorms, thunderstorms, the wrong (okay, no) kit, an American in goal (even I had to play), the pre-match warm up of neat gin… we have plenty of valid excuses for not raising the shield this time.
The fact of the matter is that we lost 2-1, had a fantastic time, and made some great new friends on the pitch. We then did the trophy presentation and stuffed ourselves with samosas and warming tea – just as well really as it gets pretty cold up in Shillong, even for hardened sportsmen and women such as ourselves.
The finish party later that night rocked. Literally. Shillong’s famous for its love of rock music, and the band were no amateurs. After an epic buffet, and an award ceremony for those who showed a certain finesse over the course of the two weeks, they danced. Oh how they danced (badly if you must know). As the night grew longer, things got messier.
Yes there was some vomiting, yes there were a few who passed out, yes, some of them were seen having a drunken snog, but generally everyone was very well behaved. Spirits were high, and that, mixed with complete and utter exhaustion put a strange angle on things as the evening commenced with a beautiful group sing-song. ’Hey Jude’ again seeming to make itself the anthem for the Run despite the Runners always seeming to be able to give it a good musical murdering.
Here's some other photos from the finish, starting with Oznog Racing and some others looking happy about getting to the end:
The first team to cross the line was Team Kings of Good Times, sporting some rather fetching matching (and sleeveless) denim shirts:
Another fantastic group of Adventurists has been spawned.
£50,000 already raised for the official charity alone.
A lifetime of stories and legends created.
A lot of very, very happy (and knackered) people.
Rickshaw Run April 2013. Bam. Wrapped.
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"Phenomenal, best experience we’ve ever had."
"Man that was fantastic, but I sure am glad it’s over"
“This country is crazy, you never know what to expect."
"That was the longest, toughest, hardest and most brilliant thing I have ever donein my life”
“Loved every second…Can I just carry on to Jaisalmer?" (Team mate groanswearily)
"Wow, what a country, what an event and what an experience – my head’s stillspinning and will be for some time I think”
"Oh man, thank god that’s finished”
"I never want to see another tuk tuk as long as I live."
“Do I have to give you the keys back? I want to buy it and ship it home."
"I literally had the best and worst experiences of my life so far in the space of afew hours. This country is incredible."
"Thank you thank you thank you – that was beyond words."
"I think I need a massage. For the next year.”