Ultra-marathon runner takes on India to raise awareness of child poverty


Ultra-marathon runner Sam Gash has begun a three-month run across India to raise awareness of child poverty and education.

Former Melbourne lawyer Sam Gash is no stranger to tough runs, but she's just embarked on her longest and toughest journey yet.

She will look to run 3800km across India, a journey which she expects to complete in 77 days.

It's all to raise awareness, and funds, for education and child poverty in India.

Leaving Rajasthan in the country's west today, Gash said it was a difficult start.

"I've come from winter in Melbourne, and it peaked at around 40 degrees today, about 45 per cent humidity," she said,

"And it was hard, I knew it was going to be hard and it was hard."

Gash said the run aimed to target social change in India, and she hoped to raise half a million dollars for World Vision projects across India.

She won't be running alone, as 700 runners in Australia will take part in the Run India challenge, matching their progress against Sam's on a live interactive map.

Elena Biancardi and her amateur running group, 'Team Machia,' have been training in Sydney for weeks.

"Machia's meaning is energy flows where your attention goes, and in our team we really believe a small action can change the world. Sam is inspiring us to do that," Ms Biancardi said.

Australia-India Youth Dialogue leader Karan Anand said the funds raised by Gash and her supporters in Australia will go where it's most needed.

"What Samantha's doing here is tackling some real issues. Four per cent of Indian children don't even start school, 58 per cent don't finish primary school and 90 per cent don't finish high school," Anand said.

"There are some things we really take for granted in Australia."

Former Liberal MP Pat Farmer ran a similar route this year.

He completed his 64-day run in March despite collapsing from heat exhaustion and dehydration.

Gash's run is scheduled to finish at eastern province Meghalaya in early November, but she's taking one day at a time.

"That's a little bit less off the route now... I'm just happy today is done," she said.

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