Like many young people her age, Samantha Gash had a desire to challenge herself and to make a difference in the world. Ambitious, determined, naïve and stubborn Samantha couldn’t have imagined that her journey would take her to the four corners of the earth and impact so many lives.
The ‘4 Deserts Grand Slam’ requires competitors’ to run four, 250km ultra marathons across the driest (Chile), windiest (China), hottest (Sahara) and coldest deserts (Antarctica) on earth. When all four races are completed in one calendar year, it is regarded as one of the toughest endurance events on the planet. Samantha made history by becoming the first woman and the youngest person at the time to complete the Grand Slam. Her journey was captured for the big screen in the award-winning film Desert Runners.
Samantha’s view on what she was capable of changed forever from this point. With an increasing desire to push the physical envelope even further, the following year Samantha found herself entered into a 222km non-stop run across the Himalayas, in an event that had only been completed by one man. The penny dropped during Samantha’s journey across the Himalayas that she wanted to use her capacity to run long distances for a reason outside of herself. The following year, while working as a lawyer, Samantha ran 379kms non-stop across Australia’s Simpson Desert. Receiving national attention, the run took 3.5 days and nights to complete and raise $33K for Save the Children Australia.
Within two months after returning from the Simpson Desert, Samantha co-organised a fundraising community running event on behalf of Turia Pitt and Kate Sanderson – victims of the Kimberley ultramarathon bushfire. A race that Samantha was also a competitor in. In September 2014, Samantha ran close to 2 marathons a day for 30 days straight across South Africa’s Freedom Trail with UK runner Mimi Anderson. For the entire month they didn’t see a road once as they navigated their way across the trails, up mountains & into game reserves. They were raising awareness and funds for an initiative that addressed the high cost of feminine hygiene products for women in sub Saharan Africa & its link to school absenteeism for young women. It was reported that year that almost nine million South African girls aged 13 – 19 missed time at school due to a lack of sanitary products. Mimi and Samantha raised $55,000 on behalf of Save the Children to support a holistic initiative that increased access to feminine hygiene products and provide education around the importance of attending school.
As an Ambassador for World Vision, Samantha completed a 76 day/3253km run from the West to the East of India. She raised over $150K to fund six education focused programs and visited 18 communities that World Vision support across the country. These stories were shared through a digital platform with organisations and individuals taking part in a global peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.
Samantha is also an ambassador for the Royal Flying Doctor Service and will be releasing her memoirs with Macmillan Publishers & Run India documentary in 2019. Samantha’s experience has made her an inspiring and energetic communicator with a unique ability to inspire people to push through their limitations. She is a dynamic corporate speaker, empowering audiences in Australia and internationally.
Samantha took up the sport of running in 2008 as a way to disconnect to connect after long hours studying behind a screen. After hitting the wall at 32kms and on the verge of quitting, she just managed to complete the Melbourne Marathon that year. Motivated by the experience of pushing her mind and body beyond what she thought was possible, Samantha ambitiously took the ultimate challenge and entered the ‘4 Deserts Grand Slam’.
“It is very refreshing to hear someone speak so clearly and authentically about taking on extraordinary challenges. Samantha spoke without hesitation about her passion to make a difference and was compelling and inspiring. Her aim to make an impact on women’s lives in Africa while creating employment is at once creative and meaningful. Samantha’s talk did not fail to connect. Her feats, this purpose and the way she connects, means time with Samantha Gash is very worthwhile. “– NAB Asset Management
‘’Samantha, I was so proud to hear how you touched peoples lives, so much so that we took a collection around the room and raised $600 for your cause – Freedom Runners’’– AMP | Strategy & Transformation Group
“Sam delivered a brilliant and inspiring presentation. She was powerful and passionate, and delivered a strong message of courage and determination. Sam’s story of personal achievement and commitment to constant never-ending improvement was the perfect empowerment for our team. Her ability to uplift an entire audience was enlightening, and everyone was thoroughly captivated by Sam’s amazing story’’– Enzumo
”Samantha was a keynote speaker at the Mindful in May launch and inspired the audience with her story and passion. Not only is she an inspiring speaker she is also a warm and generous person who brings brightness into the room”– Mindful In May
‘’Samantha’s story isauthentic, moving and inspirational. Her delivery was heartfelt and honest and had attendees glued to their seats. Samantha’s energy, positivity and passion is infectious and left the audience inspired by what can be achieved with determination, motivation and pushing yourself beyond where you thought you could not go’’.– Bankwest Executive General Manager, Retail
“Samantha is an outstanding speaker – articulate, passionate and able to quickly relate to her audience through her inspiring personal journey from lawyer to extreme athlete and community fundraiser. She would be a great addition to any motivational forum.”– Save the Children Australia
I had the absolute pleasure of working with Samantha Gash on our flagship Business Forum conference. Sam is such a dynamic and engaging speaker that we were very lucky to have on our stage. Over 80% of the session feedback rated Sam as outstanding. Sam’s story is so amazing and resonated with our audience, many of whom were members in business at the C-suite level. I have never seen so much immediate positive feedback after Sam’s session, it left delegates feeling moved and inspired – and most importantly, actionable suggestions – on how to implement these valuable life lessons in corporate life.– Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand