To celebrate World Vision’s 50th anniversary, Samantha Gash, 31, ultra marathon runner from Melbourne, is planning to undertake a gruelling run across the diverse terrain of India.
Kicking off on Monday 22 August, Samantha will run close to 4,000 km from West to East to raise money and awareness for World Vision projects tackling barriers to quality education.
In India today, 4 per cent of children never start school, 58 per cent don’t complete primary school, and 90 per cent fail to finish high school. Combined with the fact that 67.7 million India youths are living on less than one dollar a day, the barriers to accessing education are highly complex.
Only a few people have run across India’s landscapes, but Samantha is not one to shy away from challenges. With many achievements to her name, including being the youngest female to complete ‘4 Deserts Grand Slam’ (running across the deserts of Chile, Antarctica, China and the Sahara) and being the youngest Australian woman to run across the Simpson Desert in 2012, there’s only one thing in mind.
“It’s the longest run that I have ever undertaken…however, I know from experience that you can never plan for everything,” she says.
“A real highlight for me will be meeting the people and visiting the communities along the way that are engaged with World Vision. Although training is taking up most of my time and headspace, the reason that drives me is the ‘why’. Everytime I train I visualise myself in India and I know that any discomfort I could possibly experience will pale in comparison to many of the situations I will see.”
She’s also inviting her other runners across Australia to run with her in the World Vision 12-week Challenge, where you can track distances against Samantha’s.
To find out more and get involved visit the Run India website.