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 /CNW Telbec/ - 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.
    "Following Ray, Richard and Kevin's progress as well as joining the
Students on Ice Antarctic Expedition was an awesome experience," said
17-year-old student Dylan Polacek from Boca Raton High School in Florida.
"It's really opened my eyes to our world and our environment, and I have
learned so much from this opportunity. I look up to the three of them, and I'd
love to do expeditions like this in the future- Students on Ice and
impossible2Possible have given me a taste for it."

    The expedition's primary sponsors are Gatorade, Energy and Procurement
Magazine, and Crocs. For a detailed list of all sponsors, please visit the
sponsor page on the South Pole Quest website.

    
    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/
    





For further information:

For further information: Lisa Crawford, Bluesky Strategy Group, (613)
241-3512 ext. 224, (613) 218-2481, lisa@blueskystrategygroup.com; Marie-France
MacKinnon, Bluesky Strategy Group, (613) 241-3512 ext. 229, (613) 853-3940,
Marie.france@blueskystrategygroup.com

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RAY ZAHAB

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SOUTH POLE RECORD

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