Mary Gadams resides in Hong Kong after having lived in the United States, Spain, China, France, United Kingdom and Korea. Mary received an undergraduate degree from Creighton in the United States and a master's degree as an Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. Fellow from the London Business School in the United Kingdom. Her previous work experience is in investment banking and strategy. Shortly after the Asian financial crisis, Mary worked as a global strategist in the chairman's office and restructuring office of The Samsung Group in Seoul, Korea where she worked on special projects including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, venture capital and global strategy. Mary began her career in investment banking in the United States and left as a vice president to pursue language and graduate studies in Europe.
In the mid-90s, Mary saw a need for a global event series that captured the best aspects of all the events in which she had competed. Her vision was to create a series of events that would encourage people to push themselves beyond what they ever dreamt possible. In 2002, she created RacingThePlanet - now known as the 4 Deserts Race Series - a world-class footrace series taking place in the most challenging, pristine and culturally-rich locations in the world. The four annual events would take place across the world's most varied terrain and would be located in the driest, windiest, hottest and coldest deserts on Earth. The races were named the Atacama Crossing (Chile), Gobi March (China), Sahara Race (Egypt) and The Last Desert (Antarctica). The series has since been named by Time magazine as one of the world's Top Ten Endurance Events, alongside such races as the Tour de France, Dakar Rally and Vendee Globe. In addition, there is a fifth event known as the Roving Race that moves to a new location each year.
The 4 Deserts Race Series has donated more than US$750,000 to various charities as part of its events, with competitors raising millions more for charities of their choice. The 4 Deserts primarily supports education and healthcare initiatives in the areas where its races are held.