Written by May El Khalil
Our Lebanese Hero and dear BOT member, Maxime Chaya, has been elevated to a unique group of only 12 people in the world who have accomplished the 7 Summits (the highest summit on every continent) and the Three Poles, Mount Everest, the South Pole on foot unassisted, and the North Pole on foot unassisted.
What an incredible human achievement. Congratulations to Maxime for this amazing achievement and outstanding example of what the body can do when the mind is willing.
The BMA invited Maxime over to our offices upon his return to Lebanon to congratulate him, share cake and good fellowship. Max’s stories are mind blowing. His effort in physical and psychological terms defy reason. He slogged his way across the ice and frozen waters of the North Pole this spring to attain the holy grail of endurance, planting the nation’s flag on the most northerly point of this terrestrial ball. In his own humble way, Maxime seeks to understate the immense human effort that was required and the deep soul searching compounded by the extreme elements that he faced. Minus 60 degrees without the wind chill factor is just one fraction of the hardships that his body faced. Losing over 12kg of body weight and consuming an astounding 8,000 calories a day being just some of the obstacles. Eating blocks of butter to keep energy up and reaching a moment where food was running short and time was running out are more captivating than the best Hollywood thriller.
Probably the most difficult part of his journey was the unexpected swiftness of his return to normal life. after 53 days of nothing but ice, cold and the clock ticking against him; the ice moving away from the pole almost as fast as he was progressing towards it, causing precious meters to be eaten out of his progress at every rest stop, made the final days of 15 hours per day forward movement the most challenging. but almost as soon as he achieved his goal, he was on a plane back to Europe and home to Lebanon, leaving him with a reverse culture shock.
Max’s story makes the heart beat faster, the blood pump in your veins and destroy all the pathetic reasons that we come up with as to why we cannot get out and run a few km to achieve the victory we call the marathon.
Max, we are forever proud of you and grateful for your contribution to the legends of explorers. the epic journeys of great men and women who have conquered the world.
Well done and thank you for sharing your journey and adventures with us. We are inspired and awed.
We look forward to hearing what lies ahead and in the meantime, hope to run together on our humble roads and highways in Beirut in the coming months.