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Running for a change.


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 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’.

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.

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.

Current work

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 is also an ambassador for the Royal Flying Doctor Service and will be releasing her memoirs with Macmillan Publishers & Run India documentary in 2019.

Previous experience

Running: 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.

Talking Points

Passion, Purpose and Process

Imagine what can happen if you can use the thing you are good at, that you are passionate about, and create a positive impact elsewhere? Your self belief, self worth and satisfaction would soar! Through a process of focus, leadership and collaboration, Samantha outlines her methodology in being able to push her mind and body for the purpose of supporting access to education programs. She will share practical tips that enables you to keep realistic optimism and sustained motivation towards your big objectives. And how you to can create wins by following a passion, with a purpose.

Execution - where the (shoe) rubber hits the road

When you are in execution mode the ability to drop your ego and be adaptable to an often changing and complicated environment will determine how successful you can be. What happens in the planning phase is also crucial in allowing you to be ready. Hear how she has turned big ideas into successful missions through careful and detailed preparation that involve risk mitigation, clear team roles and visualisation. Samantha wholeheartedly believe that you need to embrace failure as it allows you to progress and grow at a quicker rate. Which is fortunate for her as she will share the many ‘failures’ that plagued her before she even began her biggest runs.

A Story About Life Beyond the Comfort Zone

If you want something you have never had you have to be willing to do something you’ve never done. Find the risks and benefits of a life outside your comfort zone - illustrated by Samantha’s example of crossing India and completing the Four Deserts Grandslam. 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

Samantha has learnt how crucial it is to continually work on strategies that allow her to cope with stress as well as enhance resilience. Both of which are needed if you seek personal fulfilment, want to be an effective team member and work towards big goals - personally and professional. Learn the ultimate lessons on leading (and following) in chaos whilst discovering techniques to create an emotional state of wellbeing and joy!

Successful Teams - Building and Leading a Highly Functional Team

Identifying and empowering your ‘support team’ can be the key in enabling you to achieving 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.


  • Challenge & Adventure
  • Inspiring Stories
  • Celebrity & Media
  • Resilience


  • Athletics
Samantha Gash has no problem with the spoken word. It’s not often that we hear something that is so powerful that it makes us go home that night and write an article about the speaker. Sam made us listen, and she encouraged us to change something small in our lives. Whether you can relate to her story or not is irrelevant. With a huge voice that pales in comparison her tiny stature, this girl makes you want to take hold of life, and run with it. Willow & Blake
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