Meet author Samantha Gash from Australia, who next week begins an amazing 3800-km charity run that you can be a part of. She took time out from her last-minute preparations this week to answer a few quick questions.
Sam, you’re about to undertake an incredible adventure: running across India. How many days is this going to take and how far are you going? I jet off to India in two sleep’s time and I am neck-deep in running shoes, electrolyte powder, maps of India, and spreadsheets of my daily running itinerary and community engagements. The Run India project goes for 77 days, taking me from the west of India to the east.
And you’re not just doing it for the fun of it. What can you tell us about your mission? I think if it were just for my love of running I would only get through a week. My objective through Run India is to shed light on the barriers to quality education for children across India. My run will take me through the desert, urban centers, the foothills of the Himalayas, the tea estates of Darjeeling, and the wet mountains in the east.
Each of these pockets of India are influenced by varying culture, language, terrain, climate, and density of population. Therefore the challenges that a child faces when being able to access a quality education will differ based on where you live. We are using a digital platform to share the stories from the eighteen World Vision programs I am visiting across the country. We will endeavour to raise funds to support six education-focused programs across the country as well.
Your adventure begins August 22nd. Is there still time for folks to get involved? Definitely!! This is the first time people that people are able to join me and embark on their own journey to make their footsteps count. As an individual, or as a team (of up to 10), you can sign up to the Run India 12-week challenge. Through walking or running, you track your distance, and do a virtual run of India alongside me. Committing to a 12-week fitness challenge is massive for anyone and this is an opportunity for you to see #howfaryouwillgo.
You will be able to connect to the content we create from the field and you also have the choice to fundraise for the six education programs.
Details are here.
You can also directly donate here.
You are currently writing a YA book that will be publishing in 2017 by Macmillan’s Roaring Brook Press. What’s your quick pitch for the project? It has been a challenge to reflect and write on what has been, when my last twelve months have been incredibly intense in the lead up to Run India. I am grateful that my editor Emily Feinberg and Roaring Brook have been so supportive of my writing journey.
As a youngster I stood out: in appearance, family background, aspirations, and personality. I floated between desperately wanting to fit in with my peers and being adamant about doing things my own way. I was many things, but what I wasn’t was an athlete. My book follows my journey in seeking out the things that made sense, which was often through pushing well beyond my comfort zone in a wide range of areas. From a confused teenager, Performing Arts/Law student at university, disgruntled graduate corporate lawyer, business development manager in a financial advisory firm to a communications specialist. I never would have imagined that it would be a career as an endurance athlete, racing through extreme and hostile environments on Earth that would take me to my most vulnerable and authentic self. Which has set the backdrop to push myself for a reason well beyond myself.
For those of us who find getting out the door and running across town almost as big a challenge as running across a country, do you have any words of encouragement? Jump on the trails, run with friends, get a workout outfit that makes you feel great, and set a goal. All four are perfect motivation to get off the couch and get your body moving!