Chelsea man to cross Sahara drawing attention to water
Endurance run, documentary help raise funds to improve quality
Chris Lackner, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Wednesday, November 01, 2006Not only does Chelsea’s Ray Zahab face a daunting 6,500-kilometre run across Africa’s Sahara Desert, he’ll also have to contend with everything from scorpions and giant spiders, to sandstorms.
The Outaouais adventure runner begins Running the Sahara today, an 80-day journey across six countries and nine ecosystems. The 37-year-old Mr. Zahab will make the journey alongside two other runners, Charlie Engle of the United States and Kevin Lin of Taiwan. Their trek will be turned into a documentary, narrated and produced by actor Matt Damon.
“This is not a relay. We’ll be running every mile, every inch together,” Mr. Zahab said in his final blog entry before departing Canada, noting the group will have to overcome “sand dunes, mountains, vast valleys and extreme temperatures.”
The expedition is raising money for H20 Africa, an initiative launched by Mr. Damon to increase support for clean water programs on the continent.
“We don’t often hear about things that haven’t been done before,” said Jenny Simpson, Mr. Zahab’s business manager. “But the biggest mountains have been conquered, people have flown all around the world and we’re always hearing about world records being broken by milliseconds. But this is a totally new endeavour — nobody has even come close to this before.”
Mr. Zahab and his companions plan to travel 80 kilometres per day, facing daytime temperatures of more than 50 C.
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