There was nothing in my early DNA that said I would do what I’m doing now…so I really believe people can do whatever they want. Their past experiences don’t have to define or limit them.
Two things come to mind when I think of Samantha Gash.
The first is that it’s easy in this day and age to think that one person - that you - can’t make a difference. Sam has proved that wrong, time and time again.
And the second is reflected in this testimonial on Sam’s website from another Sparta Chicks Radio guest & beloved community member, Kemi Nekvapil -
"When you read about her accomplishments you may think Samantha Gash is a super hero! However when you hear her speak you realise that she is a mere mortal…"
Nothing in Sam’s background, history or experience suggests she would be capable of the incredible physical feats she’s achieved.
And so she reminds me of how often we allow what we’ve accomplished in our past to dictate our future ambitions.
I could fill a page just listing Sam’s achievements.
In 2010, and in her first ultramarathon, Sam became the first female and youngest person to complete the Racing the Planet 4 Deserts Grand Slam, running 4 ultra marathons across the driest, windiest, hottest and coldest deserts on Earth.
That was followed in 2011 by a 222km non-stop race through the Indian Himalayas.
It was during that run across the Himalayas that Sam decided to use her running for a greater purpose.
Since then, she’s run 379km solo, non-stop across the Simpson Desert in Australia as well as the length of South Africa’s Freedom Trail (almost 2,000km) to raise funds and awareness for the work of Save the Children.
Then in 2016, as an ambassador for World Vision, Sam set out on her most ambitious project to date; running across India.
Over 76 days, she ran 3,253km from the west to the east of India and, in the process, raised close to $200,000 to fund 6 programs to improve access to education for children in India.
The ‘Run India’ project is captured in a documentary that will be shown at the Gutsy Girl Adventure Film Festival in Australia during July and August, 2019.
In this conversation, Sam and I discuss:
* how she describes herself when she meets someone for the first time,
* why she was terrified of sport as a kid,
* how she went from hitting the wall badly at the 30km mark during her first marathon to committing to her first ultramarathon (a 250km 6-day stage race across the Atacama Desert in Chile) in the space of 2 years,
* why disappointment is not a terrible emotion,
* the tipping point when Sam transitioned from running for herself to running for others,
* why she says she isn’t addicted to running and doesn’t need to call herself a runner,
* what inspired the ‘Run India’ project as well as the impact it had on her,
* what surprised her most about the expedition and what she didn’t expect,
* how running has changed her as a person,
* why she cringes at the word 'inspiration' and the importance of doing what motivates you (and the danger that comes when you're externally motivated by things outside your control),
* her experience with the Imposter Complex,
* what she thinks is the biggest misconception about her,
* how she knows when a project is the right one for her to tackle (which is a great approach for all of us),
* the power of -- and what it means to be -- truly committed to a goal, and
* her next expedition and project across the Simpson Desert in Australia.
I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did!
Notes and resources: