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  • Writer's picturekallifrissell

The Impossible First

Who inspires you?

Colin O'Brady is a huge inspiration to me. I first heard Colin's story on the Rich Roll podcast roughly two years ago - Rich interviewed him before and after he set out to break the world record for the Explorers Grand Slam as part of an initiative he called Beyond 7/2. In the process, though not necessarily part of the plan, he also broke the record for the Seven Summits. So, he's a bit of a big deal in the world of adventuring.

But let's back up for a second. These accomplishments are incredible in themselves, but they become even more astounding when you look back at his history. Colin grew up swimming and playing soccer - both of which he was recruited for at the collegiate level. After receiving his BA in Economics from Yale in 2006, he set off on a supposed-to-be year-long backpacking trip. This trip came to a devastating halt when, while in Thailand, Colin suffered a burn injury, affecting 25% of his body. He was told he'd likely never walk again. Basically, athletics was out of the question.

He was determined to challenge the prognosis he'd been given. To keep him going, he set a lofty goal: to complete a triathlon. Long story short, he not only completed the triathlon - he placed 1st. Soon enough, he moved to Australia to pursue a career as a professional triathlete, racing in the ITU circuit and on Team USA.

After retiring from triathlon, he jumped into the Beyond 7/2 project I mentioned above - a project designed in the hopes of grasping the attention of young people around the world, inspiring them to dream big. 100% of the funds donated to the initiative were funnelled directly to programs that support children's health and raise awareness around childhood obesity. There is so much more to be said about this project that I can't fit in here, so if you're looking to learn more, or learn more about Colin as a person, I highly recommend listening to those first two podcast episodes I mentioned above!

Colin's achievement doesn't stop there. In summer 2018, Colin encouraged those who were following his journey to join him in climbing the 50 highest points (50HP) in the United states - that is, the highest point in each state. He did this in 21 days, 9 hours, and 48 minutes. (Let's also remember once more - this man was told he'd likely never walk again).

Now what? Well, today Colin set out on The Impossible First - as of just a few hours ago, he is in the process of attempting to become the first person to ever cross Antarctica, unaided, unsupported, entirely solo. A 1000 mile trek across the frozen continent in 70 days. Here's what the website has to say about the trek:

Everest has been conquered, oceans have been sailed, rowed and even paddle boarded across solo - however, from the time Shackleton first set foot in Antarctica over 100 years ago, a solo and unassisted crossing of Antarctic still remains unfinished, leaving it one of the last remaining iconic “firsts” in exploration.
In recent years, after the tragic passing of Henry Worsley and the failed attempt of Ben Saunders - two of the world’s most accomplished polar explorers - many have said this crossing is IMPOSSIBLE.

Colin says: "This project is for anyone who as ever been told their dreams are impossible. Be POSSIBLE."

My favorite place to track Colin's adventures is Instagram, but if you're a twitter person, he's got that covered too. Help me out in supporting this incredible human!

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