Ray Zahab is a former pack-a-day smoker who transformed himself into one of the greatest athletes ever. The ultramarathoner has run through some of the most extreme conditions on the planet, from the Yukon to jungles to the Sahara to Antarctica.
He recently completed one of his toughest challenges yet. He ran 1,200 km in 20 days across the arid Atacama desert in Chile. He says the area is known for being one of the driest places on the planet, and he now believes it.
Ray says it was brutal, hot and difficult to do with intense heat and terrain. Each day seemed to have a new challenge and it took him longer than he thought it would. But the important thing is he finished it.
And every day, he checked in with students across the world through his satellite beacon and videoconferencing software.
He endures these adventures for his impossible2Possible organization that inspires and educates kids through adventure learning.
Ray says his goal is to take teenagers out and let them experience what he does and show them that anyone can do anything that they set their minds to.
He says he’s nothing special — he just works hard. And that’s the lesson he wants these kids to learn. He says any one of them is capable of doing the exact same thing he’s doing.
Ray explains how transforming his life from a sedentary, heavy smoking 30-year-old into someone passionate about fitness and wellness. When he started running in 2003, Ray says it taught him that he could surpass any physical and mental limits he thought he had.
But his greatest adventure is fatherhood. He shares news about his newborn daughter, his second, and explains what he hopes he’ll experience with them as they grow up.
Plus, Ray previews his next trip. He’s going to Bolivia in May with four youth ambassadors who will be running 250 km over the course of a week, at 12,000 feet of altitude across a massive salt flat.
Find out what lessons he wants the students to take away from the experience.
Click here to follow Ray’s adventures and find out more about impossible2Possible.