Ray Zahab: My trek to the South Pole

In January 2009, Ray Zahab broke the record for fastest unsupported trek across Antarctica, to raise awareness and money for kids’ environmental education. In 2006, he ran across the Sahara to raise awareness of water shortages.


Watch the TED talk, listen carefully and answer the questions below:


Comprehension Questions


  1. How many days did it take them to trek to the South pole?


  1. How many days did they shave of the previous best time?


  1. How many miles is it from Hercules Inlet to the South pole?


  1. How many pounds of gear did they take?


  1. Where did he sleep?



Gap – fill


Watch the video again from 03:07 to 03.:30 and fill in the blanks:


We were (6) ________ to this live website daily to these students that were tracking us as well, about 10-hour trekking days, 15-hour trekking days, sometimes 20 hours of trekking daily to (7) ______ our goal. We’d catch cat-naps at 40 (8) _______ on our sled, incidentally. In turn, students, people from around the world, (9) _________ ask us questions. Young people would ask the most (10) __________ questions.




True or False?


Listen to the material again and answer true or false to the following statements:


  1. He trekked to the North Pole.


  1. They broke the speed record for a trek to the South Pole.


  1. He ran 111 days across the Australia.


  1. His sled weighed 170 pounds.


  1. His favourite dish on the expedition was bacon and eggs.




  1. 33 days
  2. 5 days
  3. 650 miles
  4. 170 pounds
  5. in a tent
  6. blogging
  7. meet
  8. below
  9. would
  10. amazing
  11. (F) it was the South Pole
  12. (T)
  13. (F) it was North Africa
  14. (T)
  15. (F) it was bacon and butter

Author: David S. Wills

David S. Wills is the author of Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the 'Weird Cult' and the founder/editor of Beatdom literary journal. He lives and works in rural China, and loves to travel. He has worked as an IELTS tutor since 2010, has completed both TEFL and CELTA courses, and has a certificate from Cambridge for Teaching Writing. In 2018, he wrote the popular IELTS handbook, Grammar for IELTS Writing. His other IELTS website is called IELTS Teaching.

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