Ultra-marathon runner Samantha Gash is three weeks into a 77-day journey running across India.
After setting off from Jaisalmer, “The Golden City” in the state of Rajasthan, Sam is currently running east on her way towards Shillong, her final destination.
She has already covered about 700km of her 3,800km journey, during which she’ll also be passing through major centres such as Jaipur, New Delhi, Kanpur, Patna and Darjeeling.
The first woman and youngest person ever to complete the Four Deserts Grand Slam in one calendar year (in 2010), Samantha is running to raise funds and awareness for World Vision. Her route is in conjunction with 18 programs which WV currently has in operation across India.
“India is an incredibly diverse, culturally rich country, from its landscape to its climate, its people, language, everything,” the Polar ambassador told Inside Sport before her journey began. “It's so fascinating, it's incredibly complex as well.
“The problems and challenges specifically related to accessing education for children are things that are heartbreaking to me. Some of these issues are complex, but some of them are quite basic. Fundamental things like kids being able to wash their hands stops them from getting diarrhoea, stops them from getting malnourished, which obviously becomes a reason why kids can't go to school and can't keep in information.”
For 77 days Sam’s support crew, which will vary in size depending on availability of loved ones, will be housed in a camper van as Sam moves across the country. “I have an awesome India-based team, from my India team leader, my community manager and a videographer,” says Sam. “Different friends will fill different roles throughout my journey, too.”
You can read all about how Sam prepared for what will no doubt prove the most epic journey of her life in the next issue of Inside Sport magazine, which will be on sale Thursday next week.
People can track Sam’s progress via an interactive map on runindia.org.au and follow her through her social media channels (@runindia - Facebook and Instagram), @SamanthaGash (Facebook) or @samanthagash (Twitter).