“We may think we are average and we can never do this and never do that. The truth is if we are willing to take a chance and start taking risks in our lives, we can do anything.”
Ray Zahab is a Canadian adventurer and ultra runner from Chelsea, Quebec, best known for running 7,500 km across the Sahara Desert in 2006.
Since then, he has added Death Valley, Atacama Desert, Namib Desert and Gobi Desert to his list of expeditions; and going the other extreme, Siberia, the Arctic and Antarctica, in which in 2009 Ray and his team broke the world record for the fastest unsupported expedition to the South Pole.
A former sedentary “pack-a-day smoker,” in 1999 Ray was in a state of deep unhappiness when he decided to start adventure running to turn his life around. That decision changed his life forever. Four years down the road, he was running his first ultra marathon at “The Yukon Arctic Ultra” – a 160km multi-day race through sub-zero conditions in Yukon – and to his surprise won.
That experience showed him that humans are capable of much more than we think, and spurred him on to do more races. In 2006, he floated the idea of running across the Sahara to his two friends and after a period of planning, the crew found themselves on the western coast of Africa ready to go. The journey was chronicled in a documentary produced and narrated by Matt Damon.
Ray is all about turning the impossible into possible and telling the rest of us that we can achieve anything that we set our mind to too.
In this episode, Ray talks about:
His transformation from a sedentary “pack-a-day smoker” to ultra runner
Running his first ultra marathon and how it changed his belief of what’s humanly possible: “I realized in that moment that we underestimate ourselves, that each of us is capable of much more than we think”
His Sahara expedition: “Sickness, injuries, we had it all”
His South Pole expedition: “We were dragging 200-pound sleds through headwind going uphill”
The planning and training that go into each expedition
The mindset of an adventurer
How to financially support yourself as a modern day adventurer
Where to start if you want to change the course of your life
Ray Zahab: @rayzahab
KapiK1 Expedition Company: @kapik.1
Wiser Living with Sissi Wang: @wiserlivingpodcast