For most of us running a marathon in one lifetime is something to crow about.
Spare a thought then for super Samantha Gash who has just started a charity challenge that entails running the equivalent of a marathon for 77 consecutive days!
The little Aussie dynamo has just set off on a gruelling 3800km trans-India slog in a bid to raise money for World Vision projects tackling barriers to quality education in India.
Starting at one of the driest deserts on earth, Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, she will pass through the foot of the Himalayas and end in Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya on the eastern side of the country.
If successful, the former Melbourne-based lawyer turned endurance athlete, corporate presenter and social entrepreneur, will be the first person to run the route.
During her run, she will also be visiting the World Vision projects that she is fundraising for.
She had already raised over $76,000 before taking the first steps, and is calling on Australians to join her by taking part in the Run India 12 Week Challenge, whilst following her virtually as she runs across the seventh largest country in the world.
“This is the biggest challenge I’ve ever undertaken, but when you consider the challenges many children face on a daily basis, this is not comparable,” says Samantha.
“Through Run India, we are aiming to raise funds to support six World Vision Area Development Projects that focus on education. These are in Jaipur, Barmer, Kanpur, North-West Delhi, Hardoi and Pauri.
“This project will showcase the human stories and practical realities that are faced in these communities and demonstrate World Vision’s approach to sustainable development, which is about providing a hand up, rather than a hand out.”
In India today, 4 per cent of children never start school, 58 per cent don’t complete primary school, and 90 per cent fail to finish high school.
Combined with the fact that 67.7 million India youths are living on less than one dollar a day, the barriers to accessing education are highly complex.
World Vision’s 12 Week Challenge invites runners and walkers from all ages to form teams of up to 10 people to track their distances against Samantha’s run and fundraise.
To donate directly to Run India or join the 12 Week Challenge visit www.runindia.org.au.