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.
Samantha took up the sport of running in 2008 as a break from study. 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’.
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 $32,991 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. They raised over $40,000 to support their continuing rehabilitation, to be split between the two ladies.
In September 2014, Samantha ran an average of 61kms for 32 days in a row across South Africa’s Freedom Trail (1968kms in total) with UK runner Mimi Anderson. 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, on 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 global peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.
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.
Passion, Purpose and Process
How can you link something you are passionate about for a purpose outside of yourself through a process which is mindful and collaborative? Samantha outlines her methodology in being able to push her body and mind through some of the most extreme environments. An approach which is achievable and transferable to anyone’s unique passion and purpose.
A Story About Life Beyond the Comfort Zone
How does a law student and casual runner from Melbourne become the first woman and youngest person ever to complete the ‘4 Desert Ultra Marathon Series’ – one of the toughest endurance events on Earth? Samantha Gash initially set out to test her physical and mental limitations – having no idea of the journey of self-discovery she would undertake.
Naivety, vulnerability, pushing through seemingly impossible odds, taking a collaborative approach to a solo sport, creating a high performing team, competing in a male dominated race, incredible feats of endurance and spades of unrelenting spirit are all part of Samantha’s story.
Resilience and Mindfulness
Successful Teams - Building and Leading a Highly Functional Team
Many people perceive running an ultramarathon as a solo endeavour. That success is achieved once YOU get to the finish line. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth in the way I approach the sport. From my first marathon, to the 4 Deserts to these self created expeditions – all of them have utilised the strengths of other people, including other competitors, and organisations who have strengths where I have weaknesses.
Identifying and empowering your ‘support team’ can be the key in enabling you to achieving goals outside of your comfort zone.
Risk Management and Planning
Women Succeeding in a Male Dominated Arena
Samantha Gash delivered an inspiring, captivating and emotional presentation to the future leaders of all industries. Her humility and bravery is not only aspirational for all, but she helped our delegates tap into their own bravery rather than have them admire that trait in someone else. It is the fourth time I have seen Samantha present and each time it has been an immense privilege. She was a favourite on the day.
Program Director, Eleven
I recently had the pleasure of listening to Samantha speak at a financial services industry function and found her to be thoroughly engaging. 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 with anyone who understands the importance of young women needing confidence to take opportunity in life…starting with the basics. Her feats, this purpose and the way she connects, means time with Samantha Gash is very worthwhile.
Asset Management, NAB
Samantha’s story is authentic, 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.
Executive General Manager, Bankwest
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. Sam’s story is 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, it left delegates feeling moved and inspired – and most importantly, actionable suggestions – on how to implement these valuable life session in corporate life.
Samantha tells an incredible and personal story. Although her physical pursuits have been super-human, her messages to our teams are more about how much of a role the mind plays in setting and achieving goals – whether they be business or personal. She really helped my team put business issues into perspective, and helped them realise that ‘what’ we do as a business, is far less important than ‘why’ we do it.
Head of Financial Planning, ipac
Such an inspirational story that brought tears to many people’s eyes. Sam is a greatspeaker and has an extraordinary story to tell. She spoke about her physical and mental preparation & how she prepared for the unknown and there were many messages and takeaway tips for our people. I would not hesitate to recommend Sam.
Samantha is truly inspirational. I have seen many speakers over the years but Samantha's authentic presentation and incredible personal story has inspired me to succeed in several aspects of my life - both personally and professionally. I feel very fortunate to have heard Samantha present, she exceeded our expectations and would highly recommend her as speaker.
Good Price Pharmacy Warehouse
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.