“Just an ordinary person doing extraordinary things…”
As an ex-associate at international law firm Baker & McKenzie and now Presenter and Trainer at REDgum Communications, Samantha Gash may seem like another run-of-the-mill 20-something-year-old struggling to find the right balance between work, life and her purpose… it takes less than a minute’s worth of conversation with Samantha to realize that she is exactly the opposite.
Even the briefest glance at her life experiences to date reveals a truly outstanding, unique, and above all, inspiring worker, athlete, student and person. Incredibly well rounded with a finger in various pursuits and projects, Samantha’s thirst for adventure, experience and thrill for life has enabled her to find time where no one else could. Her impressive and ever-growing list of life achievements include:
Co-Founder of Freedom Runners - a 2350km expedition run across South Africa’s Freedom Trail to raise $50K to establish a social enterprise business in the Free State. The social enterprise business will gainfully employ and train a dozen South African young women to manufacture feminine hygiene products and distribute them at low cost. Samantha is partnering with UK ultra runner Mimi Anderson and Save the Children (as project managers to the social enterprise business). You can donate here.
Finalist in the NAB Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards in the award category of Inspirational Ambassador.
Nominated for a Pride of Australia Medal in the community spirit category.
Named an i2P Inspirational Ambassador for Impossible2Possible. i2P’s mission is to ‘encourage youth to reach beyond their perceived limits, and to use adventure as a medium to educate, inspire and empower our global community to make positive change in the world. In 2012 Samantha worked with the Expedition Team in Botswana for the youth ambassador expedition (2012, 2013).
National Crusader for the League of Extraordinary Women – the mission is to inspire and empower the next generation of young female entrepreneurs throughout Australia (2012 – 2014).
Co-founder of the fundraising run ‘Ultra Spirit’. A 2 loop run around the TAN for Turia Pitt and Kate Sanderson, victims of the Kimberly 100km ultra marathon (2012).
Travelled to Cambodia to identify not-for-profit initiatives for employees of Zest Marketing Solutions to engage and collaborate with (2012).
Female perspective writer and editorial board member for Ultra168 – Australia’s No #1 ultrarunning website (2012, 2013).
Named Patron of Nutrition Plus, an Australian schools-based initiative aiming to engage Indigenous and other low socio-economic children attending those schools, their families and communities in the pursuit of good health with a particular focus on improved nutrition (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014).
Completed a three-month internship with The Gulf Region Advocacy Center (GRACE), an independent, client-centered, Houston-based charity providing quality defense to indigents facing the death penalty (2010).
Founded a not-for-profit organisation, Monash University: Connecting With Indigenous Communities, which sent university students into Indigenous Communities to facilitate sporting-based holiday programs. The goal was to increase the frequency and quality of positive interactions between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians (2008).
Work in Mutijulu and Kaltukatjara – Indigenous Communities in the Northern Territory – sparking Samantha’s ongoing interest in the issues concerning Indigenous Australians, particularly the access to education and health of Indigenous Youths (2007).
Never one to accept the impossible or cease to challenge herself, Samantha embarked on her first ultramarathon in March 2010 to push her mental and physical boundaries. Inspired by the unique setting of these races, her fellow competitors and the belief that mental discipline can overcome all limitations – she hasn’t looked back.
The Race – Ireland
Beast of Burden 50 miles (New York, USA) – placing first female and second overall in a time of 8:12
2013 race/crewing highlights
10 Peaks Lake District Race – UK
Crewing Cath Todd at Badwater (who placed first female)
A 379km solo (supported) non-stop across the Simpson Desert in Australia. Raising over $30,000 for an early education mobile playscheme vehicle for Save the Children.
Northburn 100km (New Zealand), placing first female.
Northface 100km (in team category), placing second mixed team.
Rollercoaster Run 43km, placing first female.
Mount Macedon 55km (Australian Trail Running Championships), placing second female.
Great Ocean Walk 100km (in team category), placing second team.
Racing 222kms in the highest ultramarathon in the world called La Ultra.
Racing 250kms in a multistage ultramarathon in Nepal.
Became the first female and youngest person to complete RacingthePlanet’s Four Deserts Grand Slam in one calendar year. Included four 250km ultramarathon in the driest (Atacama Desert in Chile), windiest (Gobi Desert in China), hottest (Sahara Desert in Egypt) & coldest (Antarctica) deserts on earth.
Placing 4th female and 25th overall in the Hells Hills 50km event in Texas
Female mentors for a female runner – a word from Samantha…
“Prior to competing in the Atacama Crossing, I was a complete rookie at multi day, desert ultra marathons. The key to my survival in these races has been an intense degree of preparation and constantly seeking out the advice of experienced female ultra marathoners. Though the field of females competing in these races is increasing, the vast majority of competitors are males. Most of the information you will find when you do general web search relates the preparation required for male ultra marathoners. A females nutritional requirements AND gear choices are different to males and therefore I have been lucky to have the wisdom and support of:
Lisa Tamati – New Zealand
Mimi Anderson - United Kingdom