Atacama Extreme: Website Goes Live, Run Begins Friday

Atacama desert

Last week I told you about the Atacama Extreme expedition, which will feature endurance runners and adventure athletes Ray Zahab and Kevin Vallely running the length of the Atacama Desert in Chile. Last night the official website for the run went live just days before the two men head off to South America to start their adventure.

You can check-out the expedition’s website at At the moment, the site contains several videos, one on training for running through the desert and two gear related videos. The first of those takes a look at preparing your footwear for a winter run and a desert run, and the second shows Ray organizing his gear for the upcoming trek. There is also a placeholder link on the site that will display the team’s journal as the run unfolds and they share their experiences with those of us back home who are following along.

As I’ve mentioned before, the Atacama Desert is the driest place on the planet due to the fact that it falls into the rain shadows of both the Andes Mountains and the Chilean Coastal Range. Those two mountain ranges create a barrier on either side of the region which prevents storms from bringing rain to the area. As a result, some part of the Atacama haven’t seen rain in centuries.

Kevin and Ray expect to arrive in Chile on Thursday of this week and will start the run on Friday. They’ll begin in the northern part of the desert and head south, covering roughly 70km (43 miles) per day on foot. That’s the equivalent of a marathon plus 17 more miles. They’ll also be carrying their gear with them and have planned water stops along the way to help keep them hydrated, which will be a constant issue throughout the course of the run. If all goes as planned, they’ll wrap up the expedition in the first week in February.

This adventure, like all of Ray and Kevin’s other expeditions, is being conducted under the impossible2Possible banner, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating and enriching student experiences across the globe. i2P delivers cultural, geographic, and environmental messages through fantastic adventures in far flung places. On this expedition alone they expect to reach more than 16,000 students, which is a very impressive feat in and of itself.

More to come as the expedition unfolds.

Kraig Becker

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