Andy is a currently a junior at the University of Pittsburgh. He has
always been an adventurer and an endurance athlete with a love of the
outdoors. In 2008, he ran the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in San Diego in 3:10,
then he and his dad drove up to San Francisco where they began their 3800
mile, self-supported, transcontinental bicycle trek. After 7 incredible
weeks they reached the Atlantic Ocean in Yorktown, Virginia. In 2009, Andy
finished the grueling course of the Boston Marathon in 3:10, requalifying
for the race. He recently went on Semester at Sea, on which he sailed
around the world while visiting 10 countries in the best semester he's
ever had! On this journey he saw firsthand the huge importance of access
to clean drinking water, especially in countries such as Morocco, Ghana,
and India. The time abroad also further whetted his appetite for travel,
which will lead him to graduate early and spend the beginning of 2011
exploring the world for as long as possible. Andy is an extremely hard
worker in everything he sets his mind to, and he is planning to attend one
of the best medical schools in the world in 2011.
I am currently training full time for short track speed skating at the Olympic Oval in Calgary, Alberta, pursuing my goal of representing Canada on the National Team. My training however, is about more than becoming a world-class athlete; it’s about the lifestyle. This lifestyle of making the best choices for my body and my health is one that I commit to not only now while I’m training but for the rest of my life.
A passionate northerner, I am most at home in the outdoors. I take every chance I get to head to the mountains to hike or mountain bike and my favourite place on earth is the East Arm of Great Slave Lake, NT, where I spent many summers camping with family and friends when I was growing up.
I am currently pursuing my Bachelor of Kinesiology with a focus in pedagogy and psychology at the University of Calgary. My plan is to become a teacher and return to the north where I believe that because I grew up there myself, I am uniquely qualified to inspire northern kids to exceed their limits. The north has given me so many opportunities and I hope to pass these along to other young northerners.
Outside of speed skating, I love to run, road and mountain bike and do yoga. While speed skating is my ‘job’, running keeps me sane and during the off-season, I get out as much as I can both to enjoy being outside and to keep fit. The Special Olympics floor hockey team that I coach never ceases to inspire me, as these athletes overcome countless barriers in order to participate, and all the time with nothing less than a smile.
I am thrilled to have been chosen as a youth ambassador for Tunisia 2010 and am looking forward to challenging my mental and physical limits. I can’t think of a better way to kick off my 2010-2011 season than with a ten-day expedition in the Sahara!
Connor is a Grade 12 student at Kelowna Secondary School in Kelowna, BC, Canada. As a member of the KSS Interact Club for 3 years, Connor has become very involved with volunteer work locally and globally. This past fall, he put on an event at his school called KSS in the Congo, a weeklong event to raise money to build a school in a war torn area of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Through incredibly generous support, over $10,000 was raised to build a school in the small village in the mountains of High Plateau, DRC.
Connor has been a competitive runner for 6 years and will be pursuing running at the collegiate level next year and hopes to one day represent Canada at the Olympics or World Championships. This past fall, he won gold at the BC High School Cross Country Provincials and competed at the Canadian Junior Cross Country Championships in Guelph, Ontario.
He will be pursuing Animal Biology at the University of Guelph next year and hopes to one day become a Veterinarian and possibly travel overseas and work with Veterinarians without Borders.
He has been raised in an incredible family and has lived in Kelowna his whole life. He is an outdoor enthusiast who loves snowboarding, waterskiing, hiking, camping, swimming and biking.
He feels that this expedition is a stepping stone to his life of adventure, humanitarianism and pushing himself to his physical and mental limits.
Kajsa is an active high school student and athlete from Vancouver, British Columbia. She has been involved in sports since a very young age; she competed in team sports as well as running, swimming, and triathlons, but now solely focuses on cross-country skiing in hopes of one day making the Olympic team. Kajsa volunteers with her club and also helps coach a physical education class at her school; she hopes to encourage young athletes in any way she can and inspire youth to dream big and challenge themselves in all aspects of life. Although still in high school, Kajsa focuses on literature and social sciences with a keen interest in history, human geography, and how humans interact with the earth as well as each other. She feels that social issues in the world are equally as important as environmental ones. Upon graduation, Kajsa aspires to become a writer/journalist and continue to be involved in sport for as long as her body will let her. This expedition brings together all the things she loves: adventure, exercise, and travel. Kajsa is ecstatic about being chosen as one of the five youth ambassadors and cannot wait to share her experiences in Tunisia with everyone following the expedition.
Ray has won numerous international ultra marathons of distances from 100 to over 200 miles in length in some of the harshest conditions on the globe. He and two other runners recently ran the entire width of the Sahara Desert—4500 miles in 111 days with no rest days—and in the process learned of the seriousness of the water crisis in Africa. The run was documented in a film directed by Oscar winner James Moll and narrated by Matt Damon. One of the goals of the film is to raise awareness for the water crisis in Africa. Ray now uses his athletic career to support philanthropic causes and inspire youth. Ray is a board member for the ONEXONE organization and the Ryan's Well Foundation. Ray is the founder of i2P. Along with Richard Weber and Kevin Vallely, Ray trekked unsupported to the South Pole in a world record time of 33 days, 23 hours and 55 mintues, and in the process the team shared their expedition with, and were inspired by, thousands of students. Most recently Ray accompanied the five Youth Ambassadors as they made their trek across Baffin Island for stage 1 of the World Expedition, and just weeks ago completed Siberian Express for Water.
Mohamed Ixa was born in the sands of the Sahara, and is considered among the most respected Tuareg tribal leaders in the region. He and his company, Tidene Expeditions of Agadez, Niger, are recognized worldwide as the top desert guides in North Africa for both recreational and commercial clients. He is also President and co-founder of ONG Tidene, a humanitarian organization that has, in the last few years, built 107 new water wells in the Sahara for semi-nomadic herders living there. For more information, contact him at www.agencetidene-expeditions.com.
Bob Cox has been in athletics all of his life (a lifelong surfer with nearly 10 years in the surf industry) and has recently found his stride in endurance endeavors such as the Canada OnexOne, the Oceanside 70.3 Triathlon, multiple 50k’s, and the San Francisco 24hour footrace race with a top ten finish. He spent much of his youth surfing in the Pacific Ocean and from those experiences his passion for our big blue planet was formed. Bob earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science with an emphasis on Public Policy from California State University, Northridge. His appreciation for clean drinking water grew from his profession as a potable and recycled water Cross Connection Specialist in California. In October 2007, Bob met Ray at a Livestrong event in Texas and from that moment he knew his life had changed. From that day forward the two men have dedicated their lives to the message and ideals of i2P.
Kathy combines her career as an environmental advisor and a fondness for ultra distance running to constantly learn and push herself past her perceived limits, and is passionate in her goals of helping to find solutions for many of the social issues affecting young people at home and abroad. Through ultra running she discovered an inner drive to set far-reach- ing goals and a dedication to pursue them to completion. During Ray’s crossing of the Sahara she ran 160 kilometers with the team in some of the harshest conditions of the expedition. Kathy volunteers her time as a board member of the Ryan’s Well Foundation and she hopes to pass on a legacy of learning and giving to her daughter Mia Sahara.
Marshall Ulrich, 58, is an accomplished Speaker, Author, Trainer, and Guide who provides his services through Dreams in Action (DNA), encouraging others to discover what they're made of. Called the "Endurance King" by Outside Magazine, in 2008 he completed a 3,063-mile run across America, equal to 117 marathons in 52.5 days, breaking the Masters and Grand Masters record. Marshall is the only person in the world to complete the Triple Crown of Extreme Sports: 121 ultra marathons averaging over 100 miles each; the Seven Summits, including Mount Everest, all on first attempts; and 12 expedition-length adventure races. Marshall has crossed Death Valley a record 21 times, including a 586-mile quad crossing and a self-contained, unaided solo. He won the Badwater 146-mile race from minus 282 feet to the 14,494-foot summit of Mount Whitney a record 4 times – and still holds the record to the summit. Marshall has raised over $ $850,000 for various charities, including the Religious Teachers Filippini, an order of Sisters that do the real work of peace and justice by fulfilling their mission to “Go and Teach.” For more information go to www.marshallulrich.com.
John is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association and a Certified Personal Trainer through the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology. He has worked full time in the strength and conditioning field for over ten years, and has had the opportunity to work with athletes from a broad spectrum of sports, including those competing and performing at the national and professional levels. Recent career highlights include the development of strength and conditioning programs, which assisted two Canadian athletes to qualify and compete at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. John has developed his training philosophy to provide targeted training for each individual's needs – based on a foundation of stability and control, functional movement, and balanced strength while progressing towards performance goals.
For almost half of his lifetime John has trained for and has competed in a variety of disciplines of endurance sport. Some areas where he has pushed his endurance limits include: Triathlon (Olympic Distance to Ironman Distance), Bike Racing (Road), Adventure Racing, and Trail Running.
Eric Walters began writing in 1993 as a way to entice his grade 5 students into becoming more interested in reading and writing. Each day he would read to his students the story he was writing which was set in their school, in their community and with some of the students as characters. At the end of the year – and the end of the novel- one of the students suggested that he try to have this story published. This book, Stand Your Ground, became Eric’s first published novel.
Since that first creation Eric has published 62 novels. His novels have all become best-sellers, have won over eighty awards, and have been translated into 13 languages. His novels often reflect his background in education and social work and his commitment to humanitarian and social justice issues. He donated all the royalties from his book about Terry Fox, Run, to The Terry Fox Foundation, and was the person who conceived, and then actively promoted, The National Run Day in 2005 to mark the 25th Anniversary of Terry’s run.
Over the past two years he has been the driving force behind The Creation of Hope (www.creationofhope.com) – an organization that serves orphans and needy children in Kenya.
Dr. Ewan Affleck
i2P Science and Education Director
Ewan will be taking part in this expedition as a guide and as educational coordinator. A graduate of the McGill School of Medicine, he has worked and lives in Northern Canada since 1992. Medivacs and community visits have taken him across most of the Canadian Artic. He has served as clinical advisor to the Keewatin Regional Health Board and is currently the Medical Director of the Yellowknife Health and Social Services Authority and Clinical Director of the Northwest Territories e-Health Initiative. He maintains an active clinical practice, providing both hospital based and remote community services. He is passionate about designing sustainable and ecologically sound health services for remote northern communities. Ewan has been running for many years, and much prefers to run on snow than on asphalt. He has won 2 northern ultra marathons. He is married and has 2 children, Zander and Anika.
Science and Education Program Coordinator
Mark Dohn is a husband, father of three, educator, and athlete who brings a wonder and passion for the use of technology in experiential education to the team. A competitive cyclist who raced at the highest levels in both North America and Europe, Mark then turned his focus to education. Adding a teaching credential to his Bachelor’s of Arts in Anthropology from Miami of Ohio, he has spent the past twelve years advocating for the use and integration of technology in education, and the development of the 21st century classroom. In 2009 Mark was recognized as an Apple Distinguished Educator.
Leona Chatwood - i2P Research Assistant
With a background in both Education and Library Science , Leona has had a long career as a Teacher and Library Technician . She has lived and worked in Newfoundland and Labrador, central Canada and western Canada, with her focus being on education and research. After graduating from Algonquin College's Library and Information Technology Program she had been able to combine these two interests. Leona is enthusiastic and pleased to be assisting with the educational research for the i2P H2O Initiative.
Kat Belendiuk - Writer
Kat is a Ph.D. candidate in the joint clinical and developmental psychology program at the University of Pittsburgh. Her primary goal is to help children; professionally, her research is focused on adolescent substance use and externalizing disorders (e.g. ADHD). Beyond academia, Kat is a coach for Girls on the Run, a program that trains 3rd-5th grade girls for a 5K while building confidence and teaching skills such as communication and teamwork. Kat is an ultramarathoner and triathlete who completed the 2009 Antarctica Marathon to raise support and awareness for the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund. Kat hopes to continue to pursue athletic adventures around the world while helping others, be it through research, fundraising or community service.
Adriana Rossi - Education Advisor
Adriana Rossi has been passionate about developing Leadership in youth for 20 years. She has worked extensively in both the private and public secondary school system initiating programs such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award and outdoor education and leadership programs. Adriana holds a Masters of Arts in Leadership and Training from Royal Roads University in British Columbia and a Bachelors Degree in Physical Education from McGill University in Montreal. In addition she is the president of Leadership Ventures which focuses on sustainable leadership development within organizations. She is an avid outdoor enthusiast, triathlete and enjoys spending time with her family.
Brian Henderson - Writer
Brian has competed in a number of endurance events, from ultra-marathons to mountain bike races. He has also joined Ray on several adventures including the Canada OneXOne challenge. In his younger years, Brian's interest in environmental issues was inspired by several influential individuals. i2P offers an excellent medium for inspiring, educating youth, encouraging awareness and action around environmental and social issues. Brian has a Masters degree in environmental engineering and works as an engineer in hydrogeology and remediation. He is excited to be able to contribute to i2P.
Peter Sheldon - Research Assistant
Peter is a CBC reporter based in Iqaluit. He has spent the last year and a half traveling around the North, spending time in all three Canadian Territories and Alaska. His formal education includes a BPHE in Physical and Health Education and a BSc in Life Sciences (Queens University, Kingston, ON) as well as a BJ Radio Journalism (King's College, Halifax). While working in Iqaluit, Peter became involved in some of the on-the-ground research leading up to the Akshayuk Pass Expedition. Peter brings a passion for story telling, research and adventure.
Michelle Watrin is an online high school journalism teacher at Abbotsford Virtual School in British Columbia. She ran track and field for Purdue University from 1988-1993 and is a member of the Indiana Track and Field Hall of Fame. Michelle works as a freelance writer and is also an educational adviser/public relations volunteer for Abbotsford's Run for Water, a 5K, 10K and half marathon raising money and awareness for the dire need for clean water in Southern Ethiopia. The mother of four and wife of a high school football coach enjoys triathlons and finished her first marathon in Victoria, BC in 2009.
Thomsen Dhont - Writer
Thomsen is a 20-year old Métis hailing from Yellowknife, NT who pursues his Olympic dreams full-time as a professional cross country skier based out of Whistler, BC. Since the age of 17 he has been co-owner of Mountain Bike Madness, a summer day camp based out of Yellowknife. The camp focuses on getting kids ages 9-13 outdoors, having a great time, and living healthy lifestyles. Although school work is currently taking a backseat in his life, Thomsen continues to dabble in part-time correspondence studies, with a general interest in the Sciences. Although he specializes in races less than 3 minutes in length, Thomsen got his first taste of Ultra racing in March 2009 by winning the diamond in the 3-day, 135km Rock and Ice Ultra K-Rock ski race and plans to compete in similar events in the future. With a keen interest in the environment and a strong connection to the North, Thomsen was extremely excited to share the experience of hiking the Akshayuk Pass this fall.
Lucy is a double Olympian with a passion for the outdoors. Lucy was a finalist at the Athens (2004) and Beijing (2008) Olympic Games competing in the flatwater kayaking singles event for Great Britain. Lucy competed internationally in kayaking for fifteen years winning a number of World Cup medals and becoming European Champion in 2008. Lucy combines her personal sporting experience with her academic qualifications to provide a practical approach to sports nutrition. She has a BSc in Sports Science, a Masters degree in Exercise Physiology as well as an IOC (International Olympic Committee) diploma in Sports Nutrition. Lucy has recently moved to Canada and is already working with national team athletes providing sports nutrition advice. Having recently retired from International competition Lucy has more time to spend doing the other sports she enjoys including, cross country skiing, trail running, swimming and biking.
Anton Stranc - Technical Equipment Advisor
Anton is an accomplished endurance athlete. He has completed numerous marathons, Ironmans, and Adventure races. As an IT Director, his strengths are in communication, planning, logistics, and technology which he applies with enthusiasm to I2P projects. He is drawn to extreme events realizing that life is about the journey and not the destination. " Too few people take the time to explore the limits they set upon themselves."
Alan Skinner, Satellite Communication Advisor
As an expert in the field of satellite communication technology for over 20 years, Alan's role is to make sure that Ray and his team have reliable, effective communication with the outside world at any time, anywhere. Alan is the president and an owner of Satellite Communications Source, in Kitchener, Ontario. SCSI specializes in setting up remote and/or mobile communication solutions using leading-edge satellite technologies such as BGAN, and satellite phone solutions. In his spare time, Alan is an expert skier and a seasoned trail and marathon runner.
Judith Stuhrenberg - Logistics Advisor
Judith Stuhrenberg was born in Paris, and graduated with degrees in history and geography from La Sorbonne. After finishing her formal education, she became an agent for some of the world's top photographers. Evenually she began to travel to the Sahara, where she has been working now for almost 20 years, organizing photo and film shoots, scientific expeditions, rallies, and reports for many of the world's top media outlets. She speaks French, English, German, and Spanish. When not traveling, she lives with her family in Paris.
Graham Morfitt - Power Systems Advisor
Graham is owner & president of Modern Outpost Enterprises, a technical company based in Courtenay, BC, Canada that specializes in portable power systems for expeditions (www.modernoutpost.com). The focus is always on the most efficient & lightweight solar charging & battery equipment possible. From iPods to sat phones, cameras to laptops, and just about every kind of electronic device in between. Graham and Modern Outpost are committed to making sure Ray & the i2P team have electrical power wherever their adventures take them.
Graham is a physics graduate from the University of British Columbia, and has worked in the renewable energy industry for the better part of 15 years. In his spare time, Graham is a competitive track & field athlete & coach, and has represented Canada in many international competitions.
Nick Gravel - Web Presence & Logistics
Nick Gravel, B.Eng (Communications), has over 10 years experience in sales, marketing and internet communications. Nick is actively involved with the growth of i2P's web presence and the ongoing development of two way communication with students during expeditions.