In July 2012, Australia’s Desert Woman, Samantha Gash, plans to run 379km across the Simpson Desert. With this incredibly expansive and dry desert spanning the corners of three Australian states – Northern Territory, South Australia and Queensland – completing this challenge will be no easy feat. Containing the world’s longest parallel sand dunes, Samantha will be running and possibly crawling up sand dunes that stand up to 40m high as she makes her way across the sandy red plains.
The route begins at the Alka Seltzer water-bore in South Australia and ends at the Birdsville Pub in Queensland, following the French Line and QAA Line – which were lines made by geological teams who were searching for oil and other minerals in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
Daniel is a mountaineer and resident doctor at The Royal Melbourne Hospital. Never one to say no to an adventure or a challenge, Daniel completed the inaugural Northburn 100mile race in NZ after a week of night shifts. In 2011 he also completed the Northface 100km event in the pairs category with Samantha in which they placed second. On the medical front he has completed a course in expedition medicine in Tasmania and is currently studying his Masters of International Health at Monash University. He likes eating fruit by the box, and Samantha’s salads. He is looking forward to pacing although may run behind, to check out Samantha’s behind.
Sarah is currently completing her final year (and Honours thesis) as a Law/Arts (Languages) student at Monash University. She will be commencing as a law graduate at leading global law firm King & Wood Mallesons in 2013. Given Sarah’s well-developed organisational and task-management skills, it was a natural progression for her to fall into a logistics role as part of Samantha’s crew when she tackled the epic 220km high-altitude challenge, La Ultra: The High in 2011. Sarah is now back for more of the action as Head of Logistics to support Samantha through the Simpson Desert Challenge. She is also a member of The Bushy Creative and will be assisting with Samantha’s internal media. With a keen interest and background in social justice and humanitarian work, Sarah shares Samantha’s dedication to meeting the team’s fundraising goals for Save the Children foundation during this expedition.
Nic is the jack-of-all-trades and the master of anything and everything. Before establishing Melbourne based creative and digital agency Maybe Tmrw, Nic had an international athletics career, studied law and commerce and worked in hospitality. He is also the mastermind behind a successful promotional and entertainment company, Secret Society. Maybe Tmrw has recently undergone a rebrand and re-emerged as The Bushy Creative, which specialises in business & marketing consulting, web-design, graphic design, photography and videography. Nic’s creative capacities also include an incredible ability to problem-solve and think laterally – these, along with his quirky sense of humour and never-ending energy, made him a logical choice for Samantha’s crew when she tackled La Ultra: The High in the Himalayas last year. Nic is excited to be returning for Samantha’s Simpson Desert Challenge in July.
Callum is an Engineer working within the “booming” & ever-consuming Oil & Gas industry in Western Australia. Currently living in the Pilbera Region and despite working from dusk till dawn six days a week, Callum has the perfect training ground to prepare for a desert crossing. Callum and Samantha met whilst participating in a race in the Kimberley Region in 2011. Recently they both headed to New Zealand to play (in a lot of pain) in the mountains of the South Island. Callum is no stranger to extreme sports or extreme conditions and has more adventure gear than Sam&Dan have combined (he probably has more adventure gear than Nic has camera gear). He is a climber, snowboarder and mountain bike rider in addition to being an ultra runner. Callum is equally driven by Samantha’s determination raise money for the Save the Children and is looking forward to being a part of the team and provide Sam with support and motivation needed to succeed in this expedition. Not that she needs the help, (Sam has motivation in abundance that comes from within). Callum also has a background in the New Zealand army and experience in many outdoor pursuits.
The Gofer – Jimmy Serpless
Samantha really didn’t have a choice when deciding to include Jim in her team. Jim and Samantha have a shared love for running, with Jim completing his first half, full and ultra marathon alongside Samantha. Jim was one of Samantha’s pacers for La Ultra: The High in the Himalayas last year. He loves the open trials and relishes in tackling new challenges with friends. Jim’s prior running experience makes him an ideal member of Samantha’s support team through what promises to be a very difficult race.
Liz Atkinson is one of Australia’s leading female social entrepreneurs. From moving to Australia as a backpacker in 2001, Liz has gone on to launch Zest Possibilities which houses a group of million dollar companies on an international stage. Combining her business acumen with social ventures, Liz and her team have raised millions of dollars for Australian & International charities.
Chris is a Civil Engineer from Melbourne with a passion for running and adventure. Chris has negligible experience in Four Wheel Driving and has never been to any desert, but he aims to make up for these short comings with his enthusiasm for anything running related and his laid back approach to just about everything.