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Interview with Samantha Gash, the 1st Woman to Complete the Ultramarathon Grand Slam

Interview with Samantha Gash, the 1st Woman to Complete the Ultramarathon Grand Slam

Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 7:36am

Samantha Gash competes in the Sahara Race. Photo from the Desert Runners Facebook page.

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Desert Runners is a recent documentary about non-elite runners trying to complete four of the world's toughest ultramarathons in the course of a year. Yesterday we published an interview Jennifer Steinman, the director of Desert Runners

In this post, we interview Australian Samantha Gash, one of the runners featured in the documentary and the first woman to complete the Grand Slam.
ALDC: In the film, most of the runners are wearing thin bags over their shoes as they run through the sandy desert. What's the purpose of this?

Samantha (runner): These are called "sandbagger" gaiters and the purpose of them is to keep sand out of your shoes. One of the biggest reasons pull out of these races is because of blisters, so prevention is key!! 

ALDC: At the end of the film, a number of runners speak about the emotions they're feeling and have felt during the Grand Slam. What new or surprising emotions did you encounter during the races?

Samantha (runner): I was constantly amazed and thankful that my body was able to adapt to the conditions and the environment. This experience was something completely new for me that going into the race there was a lot of anxiety and a tad bit of fear about how I would cope. Once you realise you can do something of this magnitude it gives you a whole new sense of perspective on what is possible.

Learn more about Samantha in this short video


ALDC: In the film, you say that for each race, you doubt whether you'll make it through the first day, and that it never gets easier. Did you find this true by the fourth and final race, or did you feel like you improved in mental and physical shape from the first to the last race?

Samantha (runner): By the time I got to Antarctica i knew there was nothing (bar breaking a leg) that would prevent me from completing the Four Deserts. I think until that point I realised that there were so many things I couldn't control that could impact my ability to complete. That said, I did believe in my own mental abilities to complete the physical challenge after completing the first race. I definitely grew up in these desert races - i learnt more about myself in those 24 days than I could have possibly imagined. 

Watch Desert Runners here, and receive 10% off by entering code FITNESS at the checkout.