Endurance Athlete, Inspirational Speaker, Author, Social Impact Entrepreneur, Ambassador for World Vision & Royal Flying Doctors Service.
Australian Samantha Gash, is the world’s first female and youngest person to complete Racing the Planet’s Four Deserts Grand Slam in one calendar year, has run over 10,000km’s across every continent on the planet and raised $292,000 for charity. She is a champion of women’s empowerment, access to education and social change, using her platform to bring awareness to the plight of many through charities such as World Vision, Save the Children and The Royal Flying Doctors Service.
The former lawyer and Australian Survivor contestant’s journey began in 2008 when she tasted her first true moment of physical endurance during the Melbourne Marathon, hitting a wall at 32km but hanging on with pure determination to step over the finish line. Motivated by the experience of pushing her mind and body to exceed her limits, Samantha looked for her next challenge – unknowingly taking her first step towards rewriting history.
15 months later Samantha began her journey to become the first woman and the youngest person to compete in the worlds toughest endurance competitions – the Four Deserts Grand Slam. Within the space of a single year and carrying everything she needed for survival on her back, Samantha persevered through four 250km desert ultra-marathons across the driest (Chile), windiest (China), hottest (Sahara) and coldest (Antarctica) deserts on earth. Her determined efforts were captured on film for the award-winning documentary Desert Runners.
The following year, with an ever-increasing desire to challenge the limits of her physical endurance saw Samantha completing a 222km non-stop run traversing the Himalayas, in an event that had previously only ever been completed by one man. During this journey, she suddenly realized that she wanted to use her capacity to run long distances for more than just herself.
And so her quest to use her platform to drive genuine and lasting change was borne. In [year], Samantha ran 379km non-stop across Australia’s Simpson Desert, a journey that drew media attention nationwide and took 3.5 days and nights to complete, raising $32,991 for Save the Children Australia in the process.
Continuing her social impact journey, Samantha co-organised a community running fundraiser event raising over $40,000 towards the continued rehabilitation of Turia Pitt and Kate Sanderson – victims of the Kimberley ultra-marathon bushfire.
A run alongside UK runner Mimi Anderson across South Africa’s Freedom Trail – averaging 61km per day for 32 days (1968kms in total) – saw $55,000 raised towards Save the Children’s charity with a specific focus on increasing access to feminine hygiene products for young women.
In 2016, Samantha completed a 3253km run from the West to the East of India within 76 days in her role as an official Ambassador for World Vision, in doing so raising over $160,000 towards six education programs. Along the way, her visits to 18 World Vision communities were shared on a digital platform, resulting in organisations and individuals participating in a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign on a global scale.
Samantha has been recognised as a finalist in the Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards twice; in 2016 in the Agenda Setter category and 2014 in the Inspirational Leaders category. In 2016, she was selected as a delegate for the Australia India Youth Dialogue and nominated for a Pride of Australia Medal. She is currently writing her memoirs with publishers Macmillan in NYC which is due for release in 2019.