Ultra Runner Ray Zahab Challenges Mother Nature—and Wins!
Written by Rhonda Price
When most people think of dangerous extreme sports, activities such as tow-in surfing, kite skiing, BASE jumping and cave diving may come to mind. Garden of Life® brand ambassador Ray Zahab takes “extreme” to an entirely new level by conquering some of the harshest climates on the globe, including a recent trek that spanned more than 900 miles with temperatures ranging from a freezing -58 degrees to a sweltering 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Zahab, a Canadian explorer and ultra runner, started the expedition in February with teammates Jen Segger and Stefano Gregoretti. The trio crossed the Arctic Ocean from Qikiqtarjuaq to Baffin Island, testing the frozen waters on foot and with fat tire mountain bikes. Icy winds and dangerously low temperatures forced them to keep moving with very little rest, and it was impossible to stop and prepare food. To keep up their endurance levels, the team relied on Garden of Life’s RAW Organic Meal to fuel their journey.
“We needed to keep our backpacks as light as possible, so we took packets of RAW Organic Meal,” explained Zahab. “It’s the perfect, instant ‘meal on the go’ because it’s easy to mix and has all of the organic vitamins, minerals and nutrients you need in one serving. We also found that it’s good for the environment because there is no clean up required, and we were diligent about not leaving waste anywhere we traveled.”
After completing the northern leg of the trip, the team headed to South America to tackle the Atacama Desert—the driest place on earth. Although the sun’s rays baked everything in their path and the heat was almost unbearable at times, the team persevered and finished the trek in Copiapo, Chile, on March 13th. Zahab has successfully completed numerous expeditions in the past, including running the entire length of the Sahara Desert in 2006, when he ran 4,600 miles in 111 days.
His run was chronicled in a documentary directed by Oscar winner James Moll and narrated by actor Matt Damon. For his team’s “Arctic2Atcama” excursion, the challenging expedition supported his organization Impossible2Possible, which uses adventure and technology to educate, inspire and empower the global community to overcome perceived limits and make positive change in the world. He shares his experiences worldwide as a motivational speaker at events such as TED, ideacity, World Affairs Council and Apple Distinguished Educators events and is also the recent recipient of the Meritorious Service Cross of Canada. “The challenge is believing that overcoming obstacles is 90 percent mental and the other 10 percent is all in our heads,” he said. “Going the distance means pushing beyond our perceived limits—leading to a discovery that we are all capable of achieving the extraordinary!”