For the first time in history, three men completed a bold quest in February 2007, running 4,300miles coast to coast across the Sahara desert ñall to raise money and awareness to gain African people clean water.
The trio ran up to 60 miles (the equivalent of two marathons) everyday, regardless of terrain, climate or injury. Along the way, they met with the people whose lives they were trying to improve, whether they were found in a village or nomadic settlement, perceiving, learning, and living through their culture and heritage. The runners’ personal lessons in these revelations were documented in an online diary, which could educate persuade others to support their cause.
Ray Zahab, Charlie Engle and Kevin Lin travelled through Senegal, Mauritana, Mali, Niger, Libya and Egypt, crossing nine different eco-systems during their tremendous experience. Naturally, there was some hardship within the group, due to their gruelling task. Mental blocks, viruses, shin injuries, exhaustion and government denial to enter countries being just a selection of complications on their groundbreaking expedition. However, this only strengthened their unity and resolve for their cause, as runner Charlie Engle said, “Our struggles drew us closer to each other”.
Having started on November 2006, the runners completed their challenge on 20th February 2007. Money was raised through H2O Africa’, a charity campaigning for clean water for all, formed by Matt Damon initially to aid Running the Sahara’, but which is now branching out to combine with others, such as Ryan’s Well. Pledges and sponsors from the public could be made, with all money going to help the people of the countries around the Sahara gain clean water and sanitation for their lives and beyond. As well as money, an aim of the project was to publicise the African water crisis, thus inspiring others to further help of this cause. To achieve this, Running the Sahara’ was filmed with the help of Oscar Award-winner James Moll, and produced and narrated by actor Matt Damon, and is expected to be viewed by American audiences this Autumn.
Contact : Richard Klopp, Executive Director
The H2O Africa Foundation
230 South Elm Street
Zionsville, IN 46077
Email: [email protected]