Update: Ray Zahab Running the Atacama Desert in Chile

A couple of weeks ago we introduced you all to Ray Zahab, extreme marathoner and Aeroplan Member.  He began his journey on Sunday January 23rd and has run over 461km in 9 days in Chile’s Atacama dessert. With a bit of a rough start, (being rained on during the evening, very rare for the area) and having to detour to get across the gorge (adding 20km in a day),  Ray is in very high spirits and has enjoyed every minute of the run! “Days 3 & 4 were very difficult, especially from a mental perspective” said Ray in his day 3&4 video, “yet very rewarding in so many other ways.” Here’s a little more detail regarding the gorges as told by Ray;  “About 15km south of Arica I saw the first of three very large gorges that are some of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. They were so massive that the only comparison I could come up with was the Grand Canyon in the United States. While beautiful they were very difficult to run through but they had to be crossed before I was able to get to the open lands of the desert. The only route through these mega natural wonders is the very hot pavement of the Pan American Highway. Running through this area is something I will never forget.”

Day 5 proved to be one of the best days yet!  On military advice, he has been following the path of the power lines in a protected part of the desert.  Diverse terrain and ever changing scenery has officially impressed this well traveled ultra-marathoner “The Atacama truly has got to be one of the most beautiful places on earth!” More from Ray: “One of the main things I’ve noticed in the northern part of the Atacama Desert was how quickly and dramatically the landscape changes. I have been running along in an area that is completely flat and barren and the next minute I find myself inside a forest of Tamarugo trees following a narrow trail that has probably existed for hundreds of years.”

The scenery in the Atacama dessert is so unique, that we had to share more than just 1 photo with you!  Here are some of the pictures and updates that Ray has sent over the last few days.

Ray says “If you have a list of places that you really want to visit, you have to put the Atacama Desert on that list!” To see the latest video from Ray’s adventure, please check out the Aeroplan YouTube channel!

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