Monday, June 27, 2011

Newsletter!!! June 2011

Atacama and Beyond!

This past January/February i ran the length of the Atacama Desert in 20 days, averaging 60km per day! Thank you all so much for following along- and hopefully enjoying some of the videos! The day 7 "blister video" seemed to be the most popular! Somewhere around day 11 it dawned on me why no one had attempted this before, and why it would be the most difficult project to date for me...the terrain and heat were more then i had bargained for!!! The daily live video comms with students kept me going- i couldn't wait each day to update them and answer their questions. It also gave me an opportunity to start pumping them up for May's i2P Bolivia Youth Expedition! As most of you have figured out i do a major project to kick the year off in January, then the remainder of the year is dedicated to i2P Youth Expeditions and basically everything that is involved in creating these free Experiential Learning programs for schools-and free for selected Youth Ambassadors to participate. As a volunteer in i2P, i also spend a tremendous amount of time coaching runners everywhere-my main source of income, in order to buy diapers! (We have a new now 4 month old named Anika Ixa Zahab!) I have many amazing friends running their own incredible adventures this year! I have also been busy with other volunteer events such as visiting youth in First Nations communities, working with Ryans Well Foundation, and more. I love it!
This January, (you are hearing this here first!!!) i will attempt to run across Saudi Arabia- in particular through the Empty Quarter. A distance of 2000km...it will be a toughy!!! My back up plan is to span the Kalahari Desert, of course running!!! Both beautiful places- with an entire program of Exercise Science that will include daily blood tests conducted by Dr. Greg Wells. I head to Death Valley in August to join WIll Laughlin in an attempt to run 300km across the valley in 3 days. I am hoping this preps us both for our upcoming projects (he has something up his sleeve for next year).

i2P Bolivia....leads to i2P India!!!

The impossible2Possible team is dedicated to constantly evolving and raising the bar of our free Experiential Learning Programs. Just weeks ago 5 Youth Ambassadors ran an average of 35km per day for 6 days across the Altiplano in Bolivia! They ran at an average altitude between 12,000-14,000 feet the entire time!!! Each day they communicated with live video conferencing to students around the globe, and scientists (Dr. George Agnes, Dean Graduate Studies at SImon Fraser University and Dr. Greg Wells) conducted live chemistry and biochemistry experiments- in which schools were able to participate live and in sync. Each expedition has a specific educational topic (we have covered Water, Biodiversity, etc)- this time as part of the UN International Year of Chemistry we partnered with the UN to deliver an interesting curriculum to students from Elementary to University level! From boiling water to complex analysis of the changing biochemistry of these amazing youth running at altitude, all topics chemistry were discussed! Check it out at www.bolivia2011.com if you missed it.
Next up? India-home to one of the worlds fastest growing economies. We are visiting the Thar Desert region of India, this time the topic of our Experiential Learning program will be World Health. As our Youth Team runs 290km over the course of 7 days, students in classroom will be challenged each day to learn about quality and access to health care in their communities, as we learn about healthcare issues in this incredible part of the globe. Of course i am being brief- there is lots to come- and so many compelling pieces! Registration is now live for potential Youth Ambassadors to apply-and school registration is just a few weeks away. Remember- everything is free, and our generous sponsors provide the video conferencing software required for free to all registered schools. Make sure your school is in the know!!!


It was just a few weeks before i began my run across the Atacama Desert that i lost a very good friend and mentor-Patrick Doyle to suicide as a result of mental illness. He shared so much of his running knowledge and friendship with me, and if it wasn't for him i know i wouldn't be doing everything i am doing now. When i train on many of the trails i ran together with him (we usually ran at some ridiculous hour of the early morning) i often think of him, and reflect on all of the people i love in my life, and remember not to take them for granted. Life is too short- so live it to the max!!!
Till next time, keep running!