Making A Difference: Samantha Gash

marie claire
Samantha Gash

At 25, Australian Samantha Gash became the youngest person and the first woman to complete the 4 Deserts Grand Slam, an ultramarathon that sees competitors run 1000km of desert across Egypt, Chile, China and Antarctica. At 28 and working as an associate at a law firm, she had a niggling sense that something was missing.

"I studied law because I wanted to make a change in the world," says the now 29 year old. "Somehow I ended up in corporate law and I thought, 'What am I doing? This is not where I'm going to make a difference.'"

Today, Samantha uses her passion for endurance running to raise funds for charity. In September, she and her running partner, Mimi Anderson, will embark on a month-long, 2350km journey along South Africa's Freedom Trail, running the equivalent of two marathons a day. Her mission? To raise money to train women in South Africa to make affordable sanitary products.

"The idea that one third of girls in Sub-Saharan Africa miss school because they aren't able to look after themselves during one of the most natural things that can happen to their bodies really got to me," explains Sam.

She says running for a cause makes the journey even more rewarding. "There's no way I'd be running this distance if it wasn't for a good reason."

Follow Samantha's journey online at