By Alina Brown
Many a relationship has blossomed during a 4 Deserts event, but we think that Samantha Gash's and Daniel Trevena's is the first to have done so before a race has even started.
Samantha laughs as she says that she “kind of cyber stalked” fellow competitor and now current boyfriend Daniel. The Melbourne-based law student was analyzing a RacingThePlanet list of participants from Australia to form a support network for the race when she saw Daniel’s entry specifying his hometown as Sydney.
“I typed his name into Facebook and four different Daniel Trevenas came up. I Facebook messaged all of them asking if they were the one planning to do the Atacama Crossing,” she says.
“You’re lucky my name isn’t John Smith,” Daniel quips in response.
One month later, Samantha was in Sydney racing the famous City to Surf 14km running race. While she was in town, the two met up for dinner and that… well, was that.
The two spent the next seven months studying at university (Samantha in law, Daniel in medicine), training for the 250km Atacama Crossing race, and traveling between Melbourne and Sydney on weekend visits. Often, these activities meshed: the two both ran the Melbourne Marathon in October and typically incorporated long practice runs into their weekend retreats.
“We understand each other,” says Daniel. (This, the author must add, is pretty obvious to anyone who meets the two).
Daniel, a former steeplechase champion, races with fellow University of Sydney student and friend Gareth Andrews. Whilst Samantha, currently recovering from an injury that put her on crutches for six weeks, is pacing herself more conservatively. So although the two do not run together, they appreciate the time they can take to support one another at the end of each day, and take delight in the fact that they are finally running the race that brought them together in the first place.