Two Canadians To Trek Across Siberia … Why?
You are here
Impossible2Possible’s Siberian Express For Water will take Ray Zahab of Quebec and Kevin Vallely of British Columbia across the frozen surface of Siberia’s Lake Baikal, starting March 1. The Canadian adventurers hope to raise awareness about the worldwide scarcity of clean water, and inspire young people to push themselves beyond their perceived limitations.
The two plan to run 60 to 70 kilometers per day, without the assistance of skis or any support crew, as they attempt to make a record-setting crossing, pulling all the gear and food necessary for survival behind them on 100 pound sleds. Sponsors for the journey include Gatorade, Iridium, Apple, Nathan, Kahtoola, Canada Goose and Stratos Global.
Zahab’s mission is personal, an effort by the former pack-a-day smoker turned ultra-marathoner and adventurer, to convince young people that anything is achievable and to inspire them to act on that belief to make a positive change in their own lives and the world around them.
During the 650km run, the adventurers will use a BGAN satellite communication device provided by Stratos Global to blog, post photos and video, and videoconference live with over 10,000 participating students in North America, Germany and Russia. As the expedition progresses, students will be able to engage Zahab and Vallely directly — to see them, speak to them and hear them in real time. Others can be a part of the experience as well, by logging on to www.SiberianX.com.
On the web site, Zahab describes Lake Baikal, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, as “a global treasure.” The world’s largest freshwater lake by volume, it holds roughly 20 percent of the earth’s surface fresh water. It’s exactly the kind of landscape he hopes will inspire students, and others following the expedition’s progress, to seek a fuller understanding of the central role clean drinking water plays in all cultures and civilizations, as well as the issues surrounding the lack of clean water available to people around the world.
Participating schools will also have the opportunity to make a concrete contribution of their own by organizing fundraisers to aid in the completion of two African based clean drinking water projects, through Ryan’s Well Foundation and GivingWater.org.
This is hardly the first such adventure for Zahab, founder of impossible2Possible. Zahab’s 2007, 111-day, 7,500km run across the Sahara desert was the subject of Matt Damon’s documentary Running the Sahara. Following that, Zahab set his sights on conquering Antarctica in January 2009, where he, Vallely and legendary Arctic explorer Richard Weber set a record for the fastest unsupported trek across the continent to the South Pole.
But The Siberian Express For Water is only the first leg of the impossible2Possible Twenty10 H2O Initiative. To contrast the abundance of clean water found in Lake Baikal with areas where water is a scarce and desperately needed commodity, Zahab and a select group of i2p Youth Ambassadors will head back to the Sahara in April, for a 10-day, 200km run/trek across the North African country of Tunisia.
For more information, go to www.impossible2Possible.commj.monde
* Samaritanmag.com is an online magazine covering the good deeds of individuals, charities and businesses.