Spotlight On: Ray Zahab, Ultra-Marathon Runner and Adventurer
Ray Zahab ran across the Sahara Desert in 111 days; he ran the three coastal trails of Canada, covering 400 kilometres; he and two others broke the world speed record for an unsupported expedition by a team to the South Pole; he ran 1,200 kilometres in 20 days in the Atacama Desert; and in 2013, he took on his most grueling journey yet when he ran over 2,000 kilometres to cross Mongolia and the Gobi Desert. The founder of impossible2Possible, an organization that inspires and educates youth through adventure learning, and the host of television’s The Project, Ray’s presentations showcase his challenging adventures, focus on his philanthropic endeavours, and–most importantly—relay that the impossible is possible. Ray took our spotlight challenge and here’s what he had to say:
What inspired you to want to be a speaker?
I wanted to share what I have learned on this crazy journey from a pack-a-day smoker to running across 7500km of the Sahara Desert, to starting my youth based organization, impossible2Possible.
Any advice for aspiring speakers?
Be YOU. Don’t speak TO people–engage your audience and speak WITH them.
What do you like to leave audiences with?
The idea that we all have the capacity to be extraordinary in our lives.
How do you prepare before a talk? Any special rituals? A good luck talisman?
I just remind myself how awesome it is that I have this opportunity to share my stories with an audience.
Do you have an especially memorable event you can tell us about?
Speaking at TED in Long Beach was cool, but so is speaking to a local school with 900 screaming kids. I love their energy.
Any funny or embarrassing situations you found yourself in as a speaker?
I better not answer that.
Is there a charitable cause that you feel passionate about? Why?
I founded impossible2Possible, an organization with the goal of educating, inspiring, and empowering youth through inclusion and participation on expeditions and experiential learning programs. Everything we do is free.
If you had to choose a new career, what would it be?
Desert island album?
Allman Brothers, Live at Fillmore East, or Paul Simon’s Graceland, or Alison Krauss Live.
Last film you saw?
Room 237. Creepy documentary!