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Survivor star’s incredible $150k in 24 hours

An ultra-marathon runner and former Survivor contestant has used her platform to raise an impressive $500,000 in just one week.

Ultra-marathon runner Samantha Gash had no idea she would spark a global fitness frenzy with her virtual relief run, raising an incredible $150,000 in just 24 hours.

The Melbourne-based endurance athlete, who appeared on the competitive reality show Survivor in 2017, like many people has felt helpless watching the Australian bushfire crisis unfold.

She was due to go on a family trip to Bermagui — a seaside town on the south coast of NSW — but ahead of the extreme fire danger, most of the town’s 2000 residents were forced to evacuate.

Survivor star’s incredible $150k in 24 hours

Survivor (2017) contestant and ultra-marathon runner Samantha Gash has raised $480,000 in just one week of launching a global virtual run – Relief Run. Picture: Instagram/ SamanthaGashSource:Instagram

For nearly one week the village has been without fuel, food and electricity.

“I felt helpless, anxious and in a state of paralysis watching the bushfire tragedy play out on my TV screen,” Gash told news.com.au

“I came to this ‘ah-ha moment’, where I realised there must be something I could do to mobilise the running community I am a part of to make a positive impact in the face of such a crises.”

It was when she went for a run to clear her head she came up with her unique idea of putting on a virtual run that could be completed anytime, anywhere.

Wasting no time, she called her long-time friend and fellow entrepreneur Nic Davidson who helped her launch the event last Sunday.

To their shock, the duo raised an impressive $9000 in just a few hours. That figure hit $15,000 one hour later and within the first 24 hours it peaked at $150,000.

Members $50 registration fee will go directly to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund.Source:Instagram

“I called Nic telling him about my idea and he said, ‘when you’re ready let me know and we will get the website up and running’,” Gash said.

“On the Sunday I thought I’d do a raw video in my backyard telling people the run will launch in a few days. I had my son (Harry) on my hip, and just gave a really candid talk about what I was doing and why — how we needed to use what we have our disposal, which for me is for running, to help make a difference.”

Instead of waiting, an eager Gash wanted to launch the website that night.

Despite the majority of her 60,000 Instagram being from North America at that particular time, she took the risk and it paid dividends.

Most of the people who donated that night were from overseas — it has now gone viral with more than 8000 people have registered to Relief Run from 55 countries.

The event has raised a whopping half a million dollars in just one week ($476,280) of launching.

More than 8000 people from around the world have resisted to Gash’s (pictured) event where they will run anywhere, anytime between January 17 to 19.Source:Instagram

Gash, who is a global Lululemon Run ambassador said while she hasn’t had a chance to fully comprehend how much has been raised, she is overwhelmed by the community support.

“We have been very much in operational mode and I haven’t had a chance to reflect too much — our focus has been agile as we now have so many people taking part in it,” she said.

“I am glad I didn’t wait to create something perfect, and just went with my gut feeling —

we all have something at our disposal to make a difference and the running community are a very socially driven, positive group of people, and by utilising your qualities, look what can happen.”

Gash, who recently got married to fellow Survivor contestant Mark Wales, made history when she became the world’s first female and youngest person to complete Racing the Planet’s Four Deserts Grand Slam in one calendar year.

The mother-of-one who is married to fellow Survivor contestant Mark Wales is overwhelmed by all the community support.Source:Instagram

She has run more than 10,000 kilometres across every continent and has raised more than $500,000 for charity.

She will again use her platform to help those in need when the virtual run is held between January 17 to 19 where participants can run (or walk) 5km or 21.1km anytime and anywhere during those dates.

“It just shows the power of collectiveness — I wanted to do something of a positive nature as opposed to focusing on outrage and blame,” she said.

For those who still want to take part in the event but are in heavy, smoke polluted areas can still register and attend their local Anytime Fitness or Fitness First gyms to complete the run indoors.

Celebrities taking part in the event include TV presenter and actor Daniel Macpherson, Home And Away actor Lincoln Younes, The Bachelorette’s Leeroy Elliott and Georgia Love, and Olympic marathon runner Lisa Weightman.

Samantha at the Australian Women’s Health 2019 Women In Sport Awards. Picture: Dylan RobinsonSource:News Corp Australia

More than 125 individual community relief run group events have also been established across Australia along with support spanning countries including the United States, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Switzerland, Germany, Thailand, Chile, Greece, Hong Kong, Argentina, South Africa and Croatia.

There is a $A50 registration fee which is donated directly to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund. For those who want to participate visit Relief Run.

The run has been set up as a STRAVA (fitness platform) challenge where entrants can also log their run activity.

So far more than $100 million has been raised for bushfire relief through the combined efforts of charities, local fundraising pages, huge corporations and a growing group of Hollywood A-listers — with many donating at least $500,000.

Leading the charge is Australian billionaire Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest, who last week announced a $70 million bushfire recovery package.

Mr Forrest said he and his wife, Nicola, were “so proud to be Australians” and see everyone rallying together “during this cataclysmic time”.

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