Adventure endurance athletes Ray Zahab and Kevin Vallely are in the final stages of preparing for their next expedition, and will soon be setting out for one of the most extreme environments on the planet. The duo have already traveled on foot to the South Pole and set a speed record for crossing Lake Baikal in winter, but now have turned their attention away from frozen climes to take on a completely different challenge. Beginning next week, the impossible2Possible ambassadors will begin an 1100km (683 mile) run along the length of Chile’s Atacama Desert.
The plan is for Ray and Kevin to arrive in Chile on Thursday, January 20th and begin the expedition the following day. They’ll start in the northern region of desert and head south, taking a light and fast approach to the run, which will follow some of the same footpaths that ancient Inca messengers used centuries ago. They hope to average about 70km (43 miles) per day across the length of the journey, which is expected to wrap up in the first week of February.
Described as the driest place on the planet, the Atacama Desert sits in the rain shadow of the Andes Mountains and the Chilean Coastal Range. Those two mountain ranges act as walls, preventing storms from passing through and delivering moisture to the region. As a result, there are portions of the desert that have not seen any measurable amount of rain in recorded history.
As is usual with any i2P expedition, this will also be an educational experience. More than 16,000 students, in classrooms around the globe, have signed up to follow along and to learn more about the environment that Ray and Kevin will be running through. The impossible2Possible mission has always been to educate and inspire through adventure, and they have been doing an excellent job in that department for several years now, sending teams to far flung places like Tunisia and the Amazon as well. This Atacama Extreme expedition seems poised to continue that legacy.
Good luck to both Kevin and Ray as they set out next week. Looks like it’s going to be another grand adventure!
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