Submitted by Michelle Schafer,
Woodroffe Avenue Public School parent volunteer
Woodroffe Avenue Public School was excited and proud to host ultra-adventurer and impossible2Possible founder Ray Zahab on Friday, February 14. Ray spoke to the grade 1-6 students about his adventures, the Youth Ambassador expeditions, and revealed his motivation for sharing his adventures with the world.
Ray ran for 111 days across the Sahara Desert by foot, ran 2000 kilometres across the Gobi Desert, and pulled a sled weighing 200 lbs for over 1000 kilometres in the South Pole.
“The extremes of the planet are the places I go,” says Ray, whose biggest inspiration is Terry Fox. He ran in 144F temperatures in Death Valley where the heat could melt the bottoms of shoes and puddles were boiling hot. In Siberia, he ran 700 kilometres across the clearest ice in the world and could still see fish swimming under the ice. In the Atacama Desert, he ran across rocks for a majority of the expedition. Yet when asked where he loves to spend his time the most, it’s Canada, “the most beautiful country in the world.”
Ray’s next challenge will be in Baffin Island next month.
Ray told the students how much he’s learned the years: he’s visited small villages and spoken to people and learned about their culture, all while running. He wanted to share these experiences with others and “bring classrooms to the expedition and the expedition to classrooms.”
Ray says he’s the most passionate seeing young people learn, and encouraged all the Woodroffe students to believe they can do anything they set their mind to.
On i2P expeditions, Youth Ambassadors get to conduct experiments with researchers, learn about things like biodiversity and astronomy, and run a marathon each day for seven days. Schools can videoconference with the expedition team or ask questions online in real time.
“Never be afraid to take a risk or wonder what someone might say about it”, he says. “I am inspired each day by people who challenge themselves.”
Woodroffe Avenue Public School Grade 2 students Cameron Schafer and Duc Banville both thought it was “cool” to hear from someone who crossed the Sahara and visited the South Pole. Woodroffe will follow the youth team through their training and will have the opportunity to learn more about astronomy in addition to the surrounding desert culture.