Rickshaw Run - Finish Line Report

Earthquakes, tornadoes, thunderstorms, torrential rain, power cuts, accidents and hailstones the size of golf balls...welcome to Shillong.

First in, Team Arrowtown

Adventure they wanted, and by Jove that's what they got. The 69 teams that began a mere two weeks ago in the far West of India have now pretty much all arrived here in Shillong. Quite a greeting it was too, especially if you're a fan of extreme weather.

We'd set up a wonderful finish line here in Shillong. Our huge, rather opulent pink tent was slightly reminiscent of a blancmange, but it looked great. Teams began trickling in, most of them grubby and exhausted but elated. Rightly so too. The special tea* we were serving definitely helped.

First across the line was the all-girl 'Team Arrowtown' proving that you don't need actual balls to have massive balls. They had an absolutely amazing time and are already looking into booking their next Rickshaw Run.

Two days passed. Two blissfully sunny, rather relaxed days in which a mere 19 teams arrived. This meant that on the final day we were to expect the arrival of a rather daunting 50 teams. As we closed for the night there was a whiff of something in the air, hmmm, possibly we'll get some rain.

Picture the almighty Zeus getting home from work. He's had a bad day. He didn't sleep well the night before as his back was playing up. Then he was late due to terrible traffic. He spilt his tea down his favourite shirt just before an important meeting. His lunch was cold and had a suspicious hair in it. In the afternoon he forgot to save his work and lost it all. His car wouldn't start. He had to take the bus. The bus broke down. He had to get a taxi, but then realised he'd left his wallet in the car and then had to pay the driver in the most humiliating way. His key snaps in the lock of his front door, so he has to go around the back where he steps in a rather unpleasant offering from the neighbour's cat. The final straw is when Mrs Zeus welcomes him with a tongue lashing of the most irritating kind because he'd forgotten to pick up some full fat milk for the rice pudding. He twitches. Suddenly everything turns very dark.

It must have been something like that anyway.

Whatever it was, we came the next morning to find our beautiful blancmange gone. Rickshaws smashed by hailstones, power lines down, the whole area resembling a swimming pool, walls destroyed and the finish line looking like something from Mad Max.

Ho hum. India strikes.

After bodging together a make-shift shelter we were again sort of up and kind of running and just about ready for the deluge of teams. Oh and boy did they pour in. Nobody even seemed to mind that their finish line was some saggy tarpaulin, some of them barely noticed as they were too busy hollering, hugging and whooping with excitement. Kids today.

As the rain and the teams poured down it was time for what may have possibly been the wettest football match in the history of water. Despite the opponents being a proper team and coming in a coach with full kit we were victorious - well, up until the last 10 minutes anyway when they suddenly scored twice leaving us smarting as the wrong end of a 2-1 result. Regardless, it was a fantastic match.

Before we knew it the grand finish line party was upon us. A flurry of teams had come, and all were ready to hit it hard. We had arranged buses to the hidden location, and even these were a riot. Teams demolishing more special tea with reckless abandon. One chap was so excited by the prospect of his finish line party he decided to hurl himself from the moving bus. Needless to say he was soon on his way back down the hill in an ambulance and is now sporting some excellent swelling, a fractured cheekbone and a broken arm. 

Shillong is the home of rock in India, and our favourite local band Colours didn't disappoint, before we knew is there was a rum, petrol and sweat scented mosh pit of the highest order. 

Food then commenced and teams who had stuck mainly to vegetarian fare on the road suddenly went berserk at the local specialities of pork and beef curries. It gave them some much-needed density for the vomits to follow.

As always awards were given to those who we thought deserved a little extra something. The list of winners looks like this:

Best stunt - 'Bharatman' - for both a daring 60kmph roof climb and a mystical no-handed drive.

Spirit of the Run - 'Rickshaws for Rhinos and Rainforests' and 'Team Scallywag' - a simply great bunch of guys and gals that impressed with their overall attitude.

Chivalry Award - 'Swalpa Adjust Maadi' - for saving an all-girl team from a certain pesky man.

Best Dance - Helen from 'Zap! Pow! Bang!' - for being queen on the dancefloor, even when she was all alone.

Best Facial Hair - 'Taj Mahalo' - judged by the crowd, the Mexican Freddy Mercury lookalike somehow beat all other contenders with his terrible moustache.

Best Theme - the bananas from team 'Rickshawshank Redemption - they came, they saw, they conquered. Dressed as bananas.

Biggest Idiot of the Run - Adam from team 'On a Tukking Mission' - for his especially stupid jump into a tree from the roof of the palace in Jaisalmer before the event had even started.

Best Dressed - team 'Waddimason' - Rob was rocking a cravat and Sam had the most divine tiny hat. Enough said.

Best Manoeuvre - 'Transtasman Camels' - the ladies couldn't be there to collect their award as they are in varying degrees of recovery after smashing their rickshaw to smithereens on the hill down from Darjeeling. All this for a decent cup of tea. Respect and get well soon ladies - they're already contemplating doing the Run again in January.

Special Commendation - Fleetwood from 'Pork Chop Express' - A legendary character. Loved by all. Well earned sir.

Cool Earth Award - 'Where's Rick Shaw' - actually they were 4th on the Cool Earth leader board, but the top 3 had to leave before the party. They still raised a cool £1300, so well deserved.

Once the awards were done it was time for the DJ to start and the awful dancing to commence. Teams high on life and special tea jumped around like they'd been lobotomised. Some of the worst dance moves ever seen were on show and it was beautiful. As the night went on it just got messier and messier.

Needless to say the buses back were just as eventful as the journeys up. We can't say any more as unfortunately it would never pass censorship.

Today saw the last team cross the line, meaning all bar the Camels arrived safe and sound.

Now, where did we leave that special tea...

You've never experienced triumph before you've wrestled a crappy 4bhp rickshaw along 3,000km of the worst traffic and shittest roads on the planet. Don't believe us? Sign-up is open for August '16, January '17 and April '17