Zahab, Weber and Vallely reach South Pole in record time

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Students on Ice congratulates Ray Zahab, Richard Weber, and Kevin Vallely on achieving their goal of trekking 1094 kilometers (680 miles), self-supported, to the geographic South Pole in under 40 days. The three world-class adventurers arrived in 33 days, 23 hours and 30 minutes!

In December, Zahab, Weber and Vallely set off each pulling sleds weighing over 73 kilograms (160 pounds).

For more information about their expedition, please visit: http://southpolequest.com/

The runners collected data for ongoing research projects that provided material for the researchers, as well as the Impossible2Possible (i2P) team – and were utilized for educational modules.

The team used solar technology and the latest communications technology to blog to http://southpolequest.com/ and others on the internet, as well as sent dispatches to various resources.

Impossible2Possible
has a goal with this expedition of inspiring a generation of youth to realize that they have the ability to achieve and exceed any perceived limits they think they may have – and that they hold the keys to contributing in making the world a better place – for themselves, and their peers.

With the help and a unique partnership with Students on Ice, in February, two i2P youth ambassadors will have the adventure and educational experience of a lifetime. These two student ambassadors will travel to Antarctica aboard the Students on Ice expedition vessel and take part in activities that will be both exciting and life changing for these leaders of today and tomorrow.

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World record smashed: Ray Zahab first – and fastest – to reach South Pole only on foot and snowshoes, team impossible2Possible breaks speed record for unsupported expedition to the South Pole

Zahab runs in moon boots, Kevin Vallely and Richard Weber ski their way from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole

THE SOUTH POLE, Antarctica, Jan. 7 – Ray Zahab, Kevin Vallely, and Richard Weber today fulfilled a goal by shattering the world record for the fastest unsupported, unassisted journey across Antarctica from Hercules Inlet on the Ronne Ice Shelf to the South Pole and blogging with students about it along the way. The three men shattered the previous record of 39 days – set earlier in the winter – by arriving at the South Pole in 34
days! Ray traveled exclusively on foot and on snowshoes, while Richard and Kevin skied, more than 700 miles (1130 kilometres). Along the way, the impossible2Possible (i2P) team survived altitude sickness, enormous blisters, endless frozen snow drifts known as sastrugi, and blinding whiteouts to achieve the record. They were powered by a 7000 calorie-per-day diet of pemmican, butter, other high calorie goodies, and lots and lots of Gatorade.

But the South Pole Quest wasn’t just about speed. The expedition was notable for its groundbreaking interactive features, its efforts in educating and inspiring youth, and its research component – more information is available on the website at www.southpolequest.com.

“Our primary goal was to inspire and educate youth; reaching the Pole in record time was definitely a bonus,” said Canadian ultra-marathoner Ray Zahab, who is best known for another extreme adventure: running across the Sahara Desert, currently the subject of the film Running the Sahara. “Interacting with the students throughout the journey provided inspiration through the whiteouts. We’re pleased that we also succeeded in making the expedition as interactive and educational as planned. We had so much support from the students who followed our progress online and we hope that we were able to inspire them to do something that might seem impossible, and to provide them with a peek at a remote part of the world at the same time.”

Nearly 3000 students from the United States and Canada formally tracked the South Pole Quest team’s progress and learned from education modules posted online. The modules drew on themes, such as climate change and the history of South Pole exploration, raised by the expedition. Ray, Kevin, and Richard contributed daily blog reports via satellite phone on the Iridium Satellite Phone Service – the only service in the world that could have made that kind of communication possible – they responded to questions from young people, conducted media interviews, and uploaded photos of their expedition to the website.

“Toward the end, the whiteout conditions were the worst I have ever experienced in my many expeditions,” said Richard Weber, who was the first person to trek to the North Pole and back via unsupported expedition. “But we still pushed on, covering twenty miles a day for several days in a row, in those conditions.”

“Our journey to the South Pole was at times very challenging – Ray and I were both ill at different points in the expedition, and the terrain and altitude obviously present difficulties,” said Kevin Vallely, a well-established adventurer and journalist who recorded all of the journey on video. “But we worked well as a team. And we would just like to thank those who supported us along the way, because the interest and the support really kept us going.”

The South Pole Quest is the second among a series of extreme adventures by Impossible2Possible. Education and inspiration are key tenets of Impossible2Possible (i2P), a non-profit organization seeking to link adventure and sustainability causes in the minds of youth and to inspire the next generation of global leaders. For more information, visit www.impossible2possible.com.

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This website was made possible by a generous contribution from the Leacross Foundation.