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Australian runner Samantha Gash ends her epic ultra-marathon across India at Shillong

Australian runner Samantha Gash ends her epic ultra-marathon across India at Shillong

India Blooms News Service | 06 Nov 2016, 12:36 am
Shillong/ Kolkata, Nov 5 (IBNS): Samantha Gash, a 31-year-old ultramarathon runner from Melbourne, Australia undertook a gruelling run across the diverse terrain to raise awareness on the multiple barriers to accessing education in India.

Kicking off on Aug 22, Samantha has run over 3,000kms from one of the driest deserts in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan to the East of India, ending in Shillong, which is one of the wettest places in the world. She has crossed 8 states in 12 weeks.

This 12-week challenge also invited runners and walkers of all ages from across the world to form their own teams, track the distances they have crossed and match it against Samantha’s.

"I feel privileged to have been able to run across India and use it as an opportunity to experience how other people live. It's one thing to hear about India's diversity and richness of culture, but it's another thing to be able to immerse yourself in it”, said Samantha.

As part of the Run India campaign – Samantha, who is also a passionate advocate for social change – visited 18 World Vision India’s Area Development Projects across India and got the opportunity to delve deeper into the challenges facing Indian communities.

“The focus of this project isn't about running a large distance across India. For me, it's been a chance to identify how individuals and the community can come together to overcome adversity. My constant source of motivation was having the perspective that no struggle I've faced in this run would come close to what many people in India experience on a daily basis", Samantha added.

Sony Varghese Thomas, Group Director, Public Engagement at World Vision India said, “On behalf of all the children in the communities that we serve, we want to thank Samantha for her passion to raise awareness on the barriers to education that children face across India. We value her interactions with all the children and families she has met in this journey. Her run has inspired many”.

Samantha has raised a little over Rs.70, 86,000 as of today for World Vision’s projects working in the areas of malnutrition, access to water and sanitation, child marriage and gender bias, which all present major obstacles to quality education.

"The community visits are some of the most powerful moments along this journey that allowed me to connect the dots between what I observed every day during the run. I was inspired by the strength of women I met in Pauri and Lucknow, women who rallied their community together to devise initiatives to support those in need and establish small businesses. I was also confronted by my visit to a malnutrition clinic in Alwar. Here I met ill babies and their mothers deal with life and death issues relating to food security, lack of education and resources. It has been powerful to see how the smallest things can help but empowering to realise how much more needs to be done", said Samantha.

Australian runner Samantha Gash ends her epic ultra-marathon across India at Shillong

India Blooms News Service
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