SAMANTHA GASH – Ultra-marathon runner, Speaker, Podcast Host, Reality TV Star and Social Impact Champion
Nothing can stop Samantha Gash armed with the philosophy, if you want something you’ve never had – you must be willing to do something you’ve never done. An accomplished lawyer working for the largest international law firm in the world, she traded in her heels for running shoes and went out to change the world through highly collaborative social impact campaigns. With true grit, unrelenting focus and the willingness to create the next best plan in the face of chaos and change, she has created lasting impact. Samantha was the first woman and youngest person at the time to complete the Four Deserts Grand Slam – one of the world’s toughest endurance competitions that spans 1,500km across the hottest, coldest, driest and windiest deserts on earth. After years of pushing her mental and physical boundaries, Samantha now uses running as a vehicle for social change through advocacy; peer to peer fundraising and integrated digital campaigns, having raised $1.4 million dollars for charities through running and social impact campaigns to date. This includes Freedom Runners – an initiative Samantha co-founded in 2014 that combined a fundraising while raising awareness around the high cost of feminine hygiene products for women in Sub-Saharan Africa and its link to female absenteeism in school. Over 32 days she ran 1,968kms across South Africa’s rugged Freedom Trail, navigating her way through river crossings, mountain ranges, thick bamboo and wildlife. $55,000 was raised for a Save the Children initiative.
In 2016, Samantha became a Goodwill Ambassador for World Vision and used her growing platform and endurance experience to raise awareness of the barriers to quality education for Indian children. 3,200kms, 77 days and $150,000 later, she did just that. But if that’s not enough, Samantha has been featured in two award winning documentaries – Desert Runners and Run India; was a delegate for the Australia and India Youth Dialogue conference; has a publishing contract with Macmillan; is a Global Ambassador for Lululemon; is a Pride of Australia nominee and finalist in the Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards in the Agenda Setter and Inspirational Leaders category. Samantha first met her now husband Mark Wales when they were both cast for Survivor Australia in 2017. In 2020 they featured together in the first season of Bear Gryll’s 10-part Amazon Prime series,The World’s Toughest Race – a 700km extreme adventure race in Fiji where Samantha led a team of three men.
And proving it was a busy year for her, in 2020 Samantha also launched the Relief Run campaign – a virtual run supporting the Australian Red Cross bushfire relief efforts. Utilising social media and an e-commerce platform, she raised over $1 million in 12 days from 19,000 registered participants in 67 countries from every continent on the planet. You’ll also find Samantha busy hosting her own podcast – the Sam Gash Podcast – featuring in-depth conversations with rule breakers, trail blazers and those who paved their own lane. With over 50,000 downloads, guests have included Emelie Forsberg, Mark Healey, Dean Karnazes, James Lawrence, Nick Butter and Ray Zahab. Elsewhere you’ll find Samantha working across her Youtube Channel which serves as a hub for inspiration, running insights, mindset strategies, adventure tips and where it’s all ‘get ready, set, go!’
In 2022, Samantha joined her husband Mark Wales for the second time in Survivor Australia – Blood V Water to test the bonds of family, friends and loved ones and see if blood really is as thick as water. In the game, Samantha pulled off one of the biggest blindsides in the history of Survivor by holding an idol for Jesse who was subsequently voted off that night without playing the idol. Samantha was soon voted out and joined the Jury Villa where she kept her social game going. Mark landed in the final 3 and went on to be voted by the jury as Sole Survivor with a clean sweep of 10/10 votes.
In September 2022, Samantha and trek colleague Dr Jesse Ling have set off on their massive trails adventure to trek The Himalayas called ‘Resilience in Motion‘. The Great Himalaya Trail (GHT) extends across the entire length of the Himalayas, across the ancient Kingdoms and extraordinary mountains of Nepal, Bhutan and India. This project incorporates the 10 sections across Nepal’s Great Himalaya Trail. Beginning in Hilsa, the Humla region on the western Nepal border with Tibet to Kanchenjunga on Nepal’s eastern border with India.
From the lens of Sam, being an explorer is far more about mindset than profession. It is the enduring curiosity, commitment and capability to embark on an adventure where the pathway is unclear. Where you can drop the ego, be open minded and create the next best plan based on the real time situation over the plan. Resilience in Motion is far more than a run. It is about sharing purpose, collaborating skill sets and cultivating a resilient community through honest storytelling.
Samantha uses authentic storytelling and dramatic documentary footage to share her journey through life.
She is an inspiring change leader and will guide your team through managing industry disruption and learning to become comfortable in the discomfort in an engaging and memorable way
Passion, Purpose and Process
How can you link something you are passionate about for a purpose outside of yourself through a process of focus, leadership and collaboration? Samantha outlines her methodology in being able to push her body and mind through some of the most extreme environments. Practical tips will show you how to develop motivation and create wins by following a passion, with a purpose.
Execution – where the (shoe) rubber hits the road.
Dreaming big is important – doing is always the hard bit. Learn about the planning, risk mitigation, and continual failures that plagued Sam’s planning from well before Day 1. Learn about the importance of cultural recognition, and framing of setbacks.
A Story About Life Beyond the Comfort Zone
Find the values, risks and benefits of a life outside your comfort zone – illustrated by Samantha’s example of crossing India. True growth lies in pushing your boundaries – Samantha explains what can make you – and break you – on the paths that lie outside your comfort zone.
Composure and resilience under duress.
Find out Samantha’s formulae for maintaining clear team goals in extreme, and sometimes dangerous settings. The ultimate lesson on leading (and following) in chaos.
Successful Teams – Building and Leading a Highly Functional Team
Identifying and empowering your ‘support team’ can be the key in enabling you to achieve goals outside of your comfort zone. Find out how Samantha created a world class ‘misfit’ team of non-runners, family, friends, and mavericks that supported her push to world record runs. Diversity, hilarity and hi-jinks were ever present in these endeavours, and you might find some gems in her approach to team building.
Samantha challenges peoples assumptions about their mindset limitations. Offering practice examples of how to exceed their capabilities and achieve outstanding goals.
Samantha uses her 3000km from the West to the East of India as an example of how to combine purpose, passion and process to create sustainable and impactful change.