Mary K. Gadams founded RacingThePlanet in 1996 and the 4 Deserts in 2002. Mary worked in investment banking and strategy, including as a global strategist in the chairman's and restructuring office of the Samsung Group in Seoul, Korea, working on special projects including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, venture capital and global strategy. She also spent eight years with a large investment bank in the United States.
Mary has lived in six countries and been involved in a significant number of sporting events. She was team captain of three Eco-Challenge teams, with a best finish of sixth in the ESPN X Games, and has completed dozens of marathons and ultramarathons, including the Boston Marathon (three times) and the Marathon des Sables multiple times with a personal best in the women's division of 26:30. Mary's ultramarathon experience spans the Western States Endurance Run (100 miles), the Himalayan 100 Mile Stage Race, the London to Brighton Race (55 miles), the Hong Kong Oxfam Trailwalker (100km), the Texas Trail Run (50 miles), the JFK 50-Miler, the Atacama Crossing and the Mongolia Sunrise to Sunset. She has also made it to the summits of Mt. Toubkal in Morocco, Mt. Kinabalu in Malaysia, Japan's Mt. Fuji (twice), Mt. Fansipan in Vietnam and Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
Mary earned a Master's Degree from London Business School and an undergraduate degree from Creighton. She also studied Chinese in Shanghai, China, French in Villefranche-sur-Mer, France, Spanish in Seville, Spain, and Korean in Seoul, Korea.
There have been 37 events in the first 10 years of RacingThePlanet and Mary has been at every single event. As of January 2013, Mary is no longer involved in the management of RacingThePlanet Events Limited but rather in a voluntary capacity. Mary is currently working with her husband to regenerate a native rainforest by planting 30,000 trees; she is also involved with charitable activities.