January 27, 2017 by Speakers' Spotlight
Ray Zahab’s Arctic Expedition
Ray Zahab wants people to know they are extraordinary. A former sedentary “pack a day smoker”, Ray turned his life around in 1999 when he decided to get in shape and enter the world of ultra-marathons. Since then, he’s gone on to inspire millions of people around the world by completing jaw-dropping journeys, including running across the Sahara, Atacama, Gobi, and Patagonian deserts. He is also the he founder of the non-profit impossible2Possible (i2P), which uses adventure based learning programs to educate and empower young people when it comes to global issues. On stage, Ray takes audiences through his tremendous personal story to show how individuals and organizations can undergo incredible change to break through limits and achieve incredible success. This week, Ray has embarked on yet another epic expedition — read on to learn more:
Ray Zahab is about to embark on an epic expedition and he wants you to come along for the journey. You can sense the excitement in his voice as the start to his latest adventure draws nearer. And what an adventure it is. Starting on January 30, Zahab and his good friend Stefano Gregoretti will cross the northern Torngat Mountains in Newfoundland and Labrador on foot. The duo will then ski the Coronation Glacier and Penny Ice Cap on Baffin Island in Nunavut before they fat-bike the Mackenzie River in the Northwest Territories with Dr. Ewan Affleck, another close friend and i2p volunteer.
“We’re excited, for sure,” says Zahab, of the expedition that includes trekking 1,000 kilometres on foot. “I love the Canadian Arctic. Of all the places I’ve been to and experienced, the Canadian Arctic is the most beautiful. It’s the only place that I’ve been to over and over again. Everything about the Canadian North is so extraordinary. It’s the fabric of our country. It’s who we are. But it’s also the Canadian North over three regions. Over the years of doing so many projects in the North, I know to respect it. The weather – there are so many things that can impede our progress. But that’s part of the challenge. That’s why we’re going in the winter to do these things.”
Zahab, whose expeditions have taken him all over the world, including the South Pole, Siberia and Atacama Desert in Chile, is looking forward to sharing this unique experience with fellow Canadians, while also motivating as many people as possible.
“I try the best I can to share the locations we’re in with anyone who is following along,” says Zahab, who has taken part in approximately 30 projects around the world and 15 personal expeditions. “We’re using technology at its fullest within our budget to bring people onto this expedition, virtually, and us into living rooms and classrooms all over. My organization, impossible2Possible (i2P), is about reaching young people and saying ‘You can do extraordinary things.’”
It’s something Zahab has achieved time and again through his own experiences.
Just ahead of an expedition that is scheduled to conclude on February 27, the father of two daughters is eager to begin his latest adventure.
“We’ve been preparing for this for a year,” notes Zahab, who’ll celebrate his 48th birthday on February 11, a day he’ll be traversing the Penny Ice Cap. “The last four days, it’s like full-on panic mode. It’s not possible to have been more methodical in preparation than we’ve been – yet you still miss things. It’s like the law of physics – it’s just something that can’t be changed. But we’re definitely excited and hope those following us will be, too. We want everyone to get something out of it.”
You can find out more about Ray Zahab on his official website and follow the Arctic Extreme Expedition via @rayzahab on Twitter and Instagram or ray.zahab on Facebook.