By Mick Jensen
Staveley-raised Franki McAdam is off an a 3500km odyssey across India in a three-wheel rickshaw.
The intrepid 26-year-old will tackle the route between Kochi in the south and Jaisalmer in the Rajasthan desert.
She will take turns driving the rickshaw with her partner, Warwick Hamilton, and her best friend, Rachel Wallen.
The three-wheel vehicle has a 7hp engine and is a popular taxi choice for people completing shorter journeys in India.
It will be loaded to the hilt and will chug along at around 30 km/h on “quieter” Indian roads for the epic rickshaw run.
Former Mt Somers Springburn and Ashburton College pupil Franki said 160 teams had paid to enter the race, which would support rainforest conservation charity Cool Earth.
Her team was nicknamed Dude, Where’s My Cow? and a sacred Hindu cow would feature on the “dressed” up rickshaw.
Teams also needed to raise funds for a charity of their choice and her team had chosen the Child Cancer Foundation.
“My partner Warwick had cancer when he was young and the foundation does a lot of great support work,” said Franki.
So far $2000 had been pledged and it was hoped to raise $3000.
Rickshaw race teams will enjoy a two-day induction before they embark on the bone-rattling adventure and although a support crew will be on standby, participants will rely on local support.
“It is a crazy way to travel a long distance, but it will introduce us to raw parts of India and to the Indian people, which will be great.”
Franki, who studied environmental resource planning at Lincoln and is based in Nelson, is chilling out at a six-week yoga retreat in an ashram in Rishikesh, before the start of the rickshaw run on August 14.
Her three months in India will be followed by a short break in Sri Lanka.