.travel sponsored rickshaw underway

Living up to each adventure travelers’ expectations, the first-ever .travel sponsored Rickshaw Run is providing more thrills than participants had imagined.

In the name of charity, 34 teams set off from Cochin in Southern India on Dec. 28, 2006 to embark on a 2,000-mile journey, through some of India’s wildest terrain, to the city of Darjeeling.

On the road for more than a week now, the teams have tackled India’s searing heat, vast jungle and heart-stopping winding mountain tracks - all in tiny three-wheeled auto rickshaws.  The terrain has caused mayhem across the fleet.  In addition to experiences with mechanical mishaps, reports of elephants blocking the road, traffic chaos, and stunning scenery have dominated the team’s text messages posted on www.rickshawrun.travel.  One team “blew their engine” and another sent in this calm and collected report, “Apart from fuel tank falling off, so far so good!”

The bruised, dirty but determined teams continue to make their way to Darjeeling tackling the arduous journey without any support system of any kind.

“Many of the teams have overcome the obstacles they encountered with the help of locals along the way who have opened their homes and hearts to the teams,” said Ron Andruff, president of .travel, the new top-level Internet domain dedicated to the travel and tourism industry.

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Spread out all over India, the teams were not expected to finish for at least another week, but many are now more than halfway to Darjeeling with some teams already closing in on the city, to the disbelief of event organizers.  The first handful of teams are expected to shatter all predictions about the first ever Rickshaw Run and arrive in Darjeeling any day now, with the majority of teams expected late next week.

At the end of the Run, a special gala will be held for the arriving teams and the auto rickshaws will be donated to charity in conjunction with Darjeeling Earth Group, monitored by international charity Mercy Corps Scotland.  Overall, the event hopes to raise up to $85,000 USD. for the charity.
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