Australian Samantha Gash, is the world’s first female and youngest person at the time to complete Racing the Planet’s Four Deserts Grand Slam in one calendar year. A lawyer by trade, she has run over 20,000km’s across every continent on the planet and raised over $300,000 for charity. She is a champion of women’s empowerment. She believes in 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.
After finishing her first marathon, and nearly failing in the process, Sam realised that endurance was a mindset. Motivated by the experience of pushing her mind and body beyond their limits, Samantha looked for her next challenge – unknowingly taking her first step towards rewriting history.
A year later Samantha began her journey to become the first woman and the youngest person to compete in the worlds toughest endurance competition – the Four Deserts Grand Slam. In 12 months, Samantha ran four 250km desert ultra-marathons across the driest (Chile), windiest (China), hottest (Sahara) and coldest (Antarctica) deserts on earth – carrying everything she needed to survive in a pack on her back. Her efforts were captured on the big screen for the Award-Winning documentary Desert Runners.
The following year, Samantha ran 222kms across the Himalayas, a feat achieved before by only one male athlete. During this journey, she realised she could use running as a vehicle to bring sustainable change to communities in need of help.
And so began Sam’s transformation to social advocate. In 2012 Samantha ran 379km nonstop across Australia’s Simpson Desert. Her journey 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 race she was also a competitor in.
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 for an education and feminine hygiene initiative.
In 2016, Samantha’s crowning event was a 3253km run from the West to the East of India in 76 days in her role as an official Ambassador for World Vision, raising over $200,000 for education programs. Along the way, her visits to 18 World Vision communities were shared on a digital platform, resulting in organisations and individuals fundraising peer-to-peer 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. Sam welcomed Harry, her first child, in 2018.