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News

Aug 22, 2016

Ultra-marathoner Samantha Gash to run for children’s education in India

Starting today, the Australian endurance athlete and advocate for social change will begin a 3800 km run across India.

WRITTEN BY

The Outdoor Journal

Samantha’s Run India Project will take her from  Jaisalmer in Rajasthan to Mawsynram in Meghalaya to raise funds for the education of underprivileged children in India.

“This is the biggest challenge I’ve ever undertaken. It will take me around 76 days and I’ll take over five million steps but, when you consider the challenges many children face on a daily basis, this is not comparable,” Ms Gash said.

“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.”

Image © Samantha Gash
Samantha took up the sport of running in 2008 as a break from study while completing her law degree at Monash University. Image © Matt Korinek/Lulumon

Samantha is no stranger to taking on challenges. In 2010, she became the youngest person and the first woman to complete the 4 Deserts Grand Slam – which requires competitors to run four 250km ultra marathons across the driest (Chile), windiest (China), hottest (Sahara) and coldest (Antarctica) deserts in the world.

In 2012, she became the youngest Australian woman to run across the Simpson Desert, a distance of 379 km. Yet another challenge she took up was to run 1,968 km across South Africa in 2014.

World Vision Australia CEO Tim Costello called Samantha an inspiration. “Samantha’s passion for advocating for social change by undertaking this huge challenge is formidable and impressive. Samantha’s goal to run 3800 km across India may seem too big, too ambitious, but so is our goal of ending child poverty,” he said in a press release.

National Director, World Vision India, Mr. Cherian Thomas said, “Children in India, especially girls, face very complex challenges in accessing quality education. We hope that this extraordinary run that Samantha is embarking on, will raise awareness on how access to education is still a far cry for millions of children in the country. At the same time the Run will  serve as an inspiration, and  teach children critical lessons of perseverance, endurance and passion.”

Samantha is the second Australian ultra-marathon runner undertaking such a venture this year. In January-March, former Australian politician and ultra-marathon runner Pat Farmer undertook a 4600- km run through 12 states, from Kanyakumari, in the south, to Srinagar, in the north.

With inputs from a press release provided by the Australian High Commission

Feature Image © Matt Korinek/Lulumon 

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Events

Jul 10, 2018

The 2018 Whitewater Awards: Nouria Newman and Benny Marr take the spoils.

The Whitewater Awards is a gathering of the world’s best kayakers to show off the biggest and best things that have happened in the sport over the past year.

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WRITTEN BY

Brooke Hess

 To be considered for an award, athletes, photographers, and filmmakers submit media taken over the past year that they believe showcases the best progression in the sport.  

There are sixteen different categories for submission, including separate male and female categories within the “Best of” kayaking categories. Categories include Photographer of the Year, Film of the Year, Expedition of the Year, Best Trick, Best Line, River Stewardship, Grom of the Year, Rider of the Year, along with several others.  Awards are decided upon by a voting process done by the Association of Whitewater Professionals.

This year’s Whitewater Awards was held in the Egyptian Theater in downtown Boise, Idaho. It was hosted on June 14th, the same weekend as the North Fork Championships, which takes place on the North Fork of the Payette River just outside of Boise.  The North Fork Championship is regarded as one of the hardest kayaking races in the world.

The race takes place on Jacob’s Ladder rapid, which is a rapid so difficult and consequential that most kayakers feel accomplished simply by surviving the rapid, much less racing the rapid. Nouria Newman, a 3-time NFC racer and winner of this year’s Whitewater Awards Female Rider of the Year describes it well,

“The NFC is the hardest race in whitewater kayaking. [Jacob’s Ladder] is a scary, consequential rapid. Running it is challenging, and it only gets harder to race it and make the gates.”

In order to minimize the risk involved in the race, event organizers have developed a strict qualification process for racers. 30 racers will qualify to race Jacob’s Ladder. Ten of them are pre-qualified from placing top ten at the event the year before. Those ten then read numerous athlete applications and vote on the next ten racers who will join them.  The last ten racers are decided through a qualification race on S-Turn rapid, another one of the North Fork’s infamous class V rapids.

Every year on this same weekend in June, kayakers, photographers, and filmmakers from around the world flock to Idaho to celebrate quality whitewater, progression of the sport, and the community that surrounds it. Both the North Fork Championship and the Whitewater Awards had great turnouts of athletes and spectators this year.

John Webster

The finalists of each category in the Whitewater Awards were presented in film format at the Egyptian Theater for the entire audience to view, with the winner being announced live. Winners were presented with an award and expected to give a short speech at the event. The big winners of the night were Nouria Newman and Benny Marr, who were awarded with Line of the Year and Rider of the Year in the female and male categories. Nouria says that voting for the “best” in each category is a challenging process, “…voting is always tricky, (look at both French and U.S. presidents, not too sure if they are really the best available option). And it is also very hard to compare lines and rapids. What’s bigger? What’s harder? I got voted Best Line of the Year with a good line down Parque Jurassic, a long technical rapid, but Rata’s line down Graceland, which is a huge slide, was equally as good, if not better.”

No matter how tricky the voting process can be, Nouria agrees that the Whitewater Awards plays a large role in the progression of the sport, “I think it’s super cool to see what people can do in their kayak, how they push the limit of the sport and how they open new possibilities.”

For more information about the Whitewater Awards, you can visit whitewaterawards.com, you can also follow them on Facebook and on Instagram.

You can follow Nouria on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

You can follow Benny on Facebook and Instagram.

Cover photo courtesy of Ari Walker

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