Wednesday, January 16th, 2008
Three men - Charlie Engle (USA), Ray Zahab (Canada), and Kevin Lin (Taiwan) - have completed an unprecedented quest: running 4,620 miles (7,435 kilometers) coast-to-coast across the Sahara Desert, from Senegal to Egypt, in 111 days (crossing six countries in total). Running up to 50 miles (80 kilometers) a day, these international athletes put their bodies and spirits to the test in an amazing feat of human will and endurance.
(Charlie Engles Sahara Chronograph after 4620 miles)
Each runner brought his own unique story and motivations, but all unit around a love for Africa and a profound desire to make a difference in the lives of the people of the Sahara in the best way they know how - by risking their lives running coast-to-coast across the Sahara Desert to prove that the impossible is possible; and in the process bring people into a new relationship with the Sahara and its people. These personal stories are set against an incredible backdrop. Sprawling over 3.5 million square miles (5.6 million square kilometers), the Sahara is a mystical land, enchanting for its extreme beauty and its complex culture. At the same time, it may well be the most unforgiving place on Earth - the daytime heat and the freezing temperatures at night can suck the life from a body in an instant. Most see the Sahara as only sand, but it has one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. In fact, it has nine different ecosystems offering thousand-foot (three-hundred meter) sand dunes and lush oases. Plant and animal life thrive in places so desolate that survival seems impossible.
Through the eyes of our runners and their stories, we will come to understand the realities of Africa - the beauty and the tragedy inherent in everyday life. This reality is underscored by the recurring theme of water - a daily necessity for our runners and a daily struggle for many of the people they encounter. The runners encountered and interacted with the many locals who spend two-and-a-half hours per day, every day, finding and cleaning their water for that day.
H2O Africa is the charitable organization that the runners established: a clean water initiative with the mission to create widespread public awareness of the water crisis in Africa and gather support for integrated sustainable clean water programs in critical areas. In many cases, these programs will complement or include other activity such as education, infrastructure development, and health care.
The money raised by H2O Africa will fund activities of leading charitable organizations and NGO’s that have experience and current programs on the ground in Africa. As the Running the Sahara expedition crosses Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Libya, and Egypt, it will identify key areas of need for clean water programs and H2O Africa will turn to its group of charitable partners to address those areas of need.
EPMartin contributes a portion of the purchase price of every Sahara Expedition watch to H20 Africa.
The World Health Organization estimates that lack of safe drinking water kills almost 4,500 children per day, mostly under the age of five. WaterAid estimates roughly 20 percent of the world’s population—nearly 1.1 billion people—lack access to clean drinking water.
Through it all, the Sahara Expedition Chronograph from EPMartin was on Charlie’s and Ray’s wrist during this amazing quest. Stay tuned for more information about the documentary on this quest; please visit the following sites for more information on H20 Africa, Charlie, and Ray.