Ray Zahab, founder of impossible2Possible (i2P) and a member of the team that crossed the continent of Africa in the documentary film titled “Running The Sahara”, has been added to the advisory board for the Race Across USA, scheduled to begin in January 2015.
On November 1, 2006, former “pack a day smoker” Ray Zahab and two friends, Charlie Engle and Kevin Lin, both accomplished runners, set out on an expedition to cross the Sahara Desert by foot. One Hundred Eleven (111) days and 7,500 km after leaving the coast of Senegal, they completed their journey by stepping into the Red Sea. The documentary film “Running The Sahara”, produced by Matt Damon and directed by Academy Award winner James Moll, was created in an effort to raise awareness for the drinking water crisis in North Africa.
Motivated by the Sahara run, Ray founded impossible2Possible (i2P) in 2008 – an organization that aims to inspire and educate youth through adventure learning, inclusion and participation in expeditions. Youth Ambassadors are selected from around the globe and then participate, at no cost, in all aspects of the expedition. Since its inception, i2P Youth Expeditions have included seven grueling expeditions: Baffin Island, Tunisia, the Amazon, Bolivia, India, Botswana, and Utah.
In early 2011, Ray ran the length of the “driest desert on Earth”, the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. Here he ran 1,200 km in 20 days with minimal daily re-supply and with his camping gear on his back. Thousands of students joined this journey, again under his i2P organization, via live web and video conferencing. In 2013, Ray ran over 2,000 km across Mongolia and the Gobi Desert. He was accompanied by both a film crew and photographer who recorded not only the expedition, but also created a robust film archive sharing the stories of the people and culture of Mongolia.
Ray has also found the time to write two successful books about his life and adventures. Ray speaks around the world at events such as TED, IOC World Conference, Idea City, The Economist World in 2010 and 2011, World Affairs Council, and numerous Apple Distinguished Educator events. He has been interviewed and appeared on several talk and news programs including CNNi, The Hour, CBC, CTV, BBC, Jay Leno, and Discovery.