Support Samantha’s marathon run across India

Neena - Saamantha Gash - Run India


By Neena Badhwar

Samantha Gash, Australian lawyer-turned Marathon runner, is preparing to run across India in an ambitious ”˜Run India’ marathon starting from Jaiselmer, Rajasthan and ending up in Shillong in the state of Assam. Samantha will be starting her run on August 22 and cover the approximate 4,000 kms in 77 days.

Her marathon can be tracked by people through the digital content as well as videographed by a camera person as she dashes through some of the major cities that include Jaiselmer, Jodhpur, Delhi, Lucknow, Kanpur, Kolkotta and Shillong.

Samantha is not running just for the sake of it but is supported by World Vision India as she will visit their development programs along the route with an aim to fundraise for quality education for the poor, for better hygiene and clean water availability.

She talked to TIDU about this challenge she has taken which has been in planning for the last two years with all the logistics involved here as well as in India. She says, “I had visited India and was blown away with the richness of its culture and diversity. India sure is a place of extremes. The depth of poverty was too much. I thought of seeing India through my run and experience it from up close. There may be places where the poverty could even be worse than what I saw when I visited villages in the Himalayas. This marathon is my small imprint in  helping achieve  some workable solutions to that.”

Samantha has already raised $60,000 for World Vision which she says will go directly into the cause while the cost of her run will be covered by some of the direct sponsors she has picked up.

When asked how much it costs to make such a marathon possible, says she, “I have kept the costs to a minimum. I am taking my own caravan and at any given time I will have a core team of three having divided the journey into three sections as different team of helpers will take over. We will do our own cooking from whatever is locally available. I am quite happy eating daal, roti and rice but will be taking some food items from here such as muesli bars etc. Excepting the costs involved in flying over there we will try to fundraise as much as we can to support World Vision India’s six projects.”

And how is her training going in preparation for this momentous run, “I live quite a holistic life as I live in the hills in Victoria. I do a bit of running, do daily yoga, bike riding and practice in altitude chamber at the gym. Just in case when I go through Darjeeling I must prepare also for higher altitudes along the way.”

She says, “World Vision India is offering assistance and there will be people who will help me in interacting with the local community to spread the awareness and the aim of my marathon.”

When asked if she has come across any challenging moments in her previous runs, “I get often overwhelmed being out of my comfort zone because it can push one to the extremes at times. But then with my training I calm myself down, evaluate the situation and look at the bigger picture and the purpose I set out to achieve. Yes I have faced extreme temperatures, dehydration, exhaustion but the will to pursue the goal has helped me always to complete my runs.”

So what’s the average kilometres she plans to run every day in India, “I will be averaging around 50 kms a day but they can vary depending on the terrain and my stops along the way. One day it could be 30kms and another day to catch up I may be doing close to 80kms.”

What kind of diet she has planned for her sustenance, says Samantha, “It is basically what the local food provides. It will comprise of high good fats, high good oils diet and keeping up my calories.”

So what is this 12-week challenge that World Vision has started to support your run, she explains, “It is for the people of India or people in general anywhere in the world that they take their own virtual challenge as I run my marathon. It is to increase awareness as well as people to get actively involved. They track their personal runs or physical activity they do at home or around home during the 12-week period either individually or in a group. As I run they also become part of the marathon. And they can get sponsors and share their journey or those who can’t can donate to our fund raising. This they can do by registering on World Vision website.”

Support Samantha in her marathon which she has connected to the objective in helping make a social change for the people of India.  World Vision India projects are aimed at tackling issues such as malnutrition, access to appropriate water and sanitation, underage marriage and gender bias, which all present major obstacles to quality education for young women and men in India. Register by visiting: or donate directly to Run India or perhaps join the 12 Week Challenge and stay healthy, happy and be part of Samantha’s charity initiative that she has embarked upon.

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