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Zahab pushing the Limits

Jordan Thoms sets on an epic running adventure of a lifetime with Canadian ultramarathoner Ray Zahab and his organization impossible2Possible (i2P).

Adventure: A challenging journey that pushes us beyond ourselves in a positive direction and allows us to engage the world directly, defy personal limitations, expand our understanding, and inspire others.

I tend to write about many people who find good or do good through running. I think these stories simply inspire people to get out the door, challenge themselves or perhaps even do a little good. Through the running grapevine and getting news feeds from an organization called impossible2Possible (i2P), I came across another great story.

Jordan about to test his limits on the Grouse Grind in North Vancouver, B.C. Known as “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster, a 2.9-kilometer trail up the face of Grouse Mountain, with an elevation gain of 853 metres.
Jordan about to test his limits on the Grouse Grind in North Vancouver, B.C. Known as “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster, a 2.9-kilometer trail up the face of Grouse Mountain, with an elevation gain of 853 metres.

Jordan Thoms
Jordan Thoms is an enthusiastic 25-year-old university graduate and new teacher in Ottawa. Jordan says he is a relatively new runner but has run 10Ks, three half-marathons, two marathons and has participated in the Canadian Death Race in Alberta as a relay member. Not bad for a new runner. Jordan is set to go on a running adventure, where he may not be doing the running but will be helping others push past their limits. Jordan will be handling logistics, documenting the adventure and setting up a satellite link to communicate and videoconference with students who will be following the expedition.

“From the moment I met Jordan, I knew he was an incredible young person. He became a volunteer and was a perfect fit with his passion for education.” – Ray Zahab.

The mission of impossible2Possible (i2P) is to encourage youth to reach beyond their perceived limits, and to use adventure as a medium to educate, inspire and empower the global community to make positive change in the world. i2P says its aims to equip today’s youth with the understanding and belief that they have the power to change the world. i2P utilizes a combination of world-class expeditions, youth expeditions (no charge to the youth), leadership training and fully interactive free web-based educational resource material to reach our younger generation. i2P usually carries out three projects or expeditions a year, two youth expeditions and one like the one Jordan is supporting where Ray pushes himself and often invites former youth expedition members (ambassadors) to join him at the end. The next youth expedition is in November 2012 in India.

The Adventure
The i2P Expreso de los Andes Expedition will have Ray Zahab and Kevin Vallely attempting to run 1700K (1056 miles) across the South American continent from Concón, Chile to Buenos Aires, Argentina averaging around 70K per day. Jordan will be supporting and documenting for teachers and students as they simultaneously take on their own activity challenge. i2P’s goal is to encourage students to take on their very own running programs, watch the expedition on the i2P website. Of interest to students and any runner, a team doctor (Dr. Greg Wells) will watch and update via the web how the two runners body adapts during extreme endurance.

Video introduction to the expedition:

How did you become involved with i2P?

“It was during the time when I was taking Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa. Ray spoke at one of my Sport Psychology classes about his recent expedition across the Sahara Desert. During this time I was extremely interested in the human brain and its capacity to control basically everything we do in life, starting with every decision you make. What interested me about Ray and running the Sahara was what exactly went through his mind to not only decide to take on such an epic adventure, to be able to endure the extreme conditions for the period of time, and to find the mental strength to follow through and complete it. I looked into Ray and the expedition even more, and found that there was a book – “Running for my Life“. I quickly picked that up, probably read it within a day, and contacted Ray via email shortly after. It was a short email simply saying how inspired I was by his actions and that I wish him the best in any future endeavors. His reply was very enthusiastic, short and succinct, ending with – call me tomorrow!”

How are you preparing for this adventure?

“The Expreso de los Andes Expedition will take us through some very demanding terrain (and altitudes!) I’ve been working very hard on cutting weight and increasing my training volume to be able to carry on daily logistical tasks. Leading up to the expedition, the i2P team has been assembling various pieces of content in order to construct the website. Developing the Expreso website was a tremendous task, and will continue to be throughout the expedition. Some of my tasks while in South America will be to shoot and edit videos, take pictures, write blogs and send it back to North America to be put up on the website.”

What do you hope to get from the experience?

“My hope is that administrators, teachers and students take on the Expreso de los Andes Physical Activity Challenge. Even more, my hope is for everyone involved to share their story by submitting videos and photos about their experience. It’s incredible how inspiring a short video clip or photo can be. New technology has made our world even smaller than ever before. Today, students are completely immersed with technology and are able to connect with one another in the blink of an eye. In all, it’s my hope that students participate with Expreso de los Andes and take advantage of the amazing technologies surrounding them. Connect with us, support each other and make a positive difference within your life and the lives of others.”

What do you want people to take away from hearing about your adventure and what i2P is doing?

“As a teacher, the i2P message is very important to me. I hope that students take what they’ve learned within the classroom and reach outside of the walls, into the real world. I hope that they continue to always learn and explore all fields of life. I encourage youth to reach beyond their perceived limits and do something truly extraordinary in their lives!”

Good luck Jordan, Ray and i2P runners!

See you all on the roads or in the blogosphere.

Give me a shout if you have an interesting story or you know someone we should all know about!