MELBOURNE ultra marathon runner Samantha Gash and former Australian Army special operations soldier Mark Wales have found love after leaving Australian Survivor.
Following on from Lee Carseldine and El Rowland last year, the pair have started a relationship since returning home from Samoa where the show is filmed.
The are now spending time together in Melbourne, where Gash is based.
It was bitter sweet for the determined Gash — she got voted out on Sunday night after her Asaga tribe wanted to break up both her and Wales, who formed a strong friendship on the island.
“There wasn’t a romance on the island, I think that’s really important to say,” she told News Corp.
“We were there for the game of Survivor, and that was so important.
“But I would say now that we have walked away from it, I’ve come away with something better than that prize.”
Wales, who is from West Australia but lived in New York City for the past few years, has come to Melbourne where he is working.
He said he felt a connection with Gash on the very first day of filming in Samoa.
“We were standing next to each other on the barge, and I remember the first person I spoke to was Sam,” he said.
“When we went to the island, I think we picked up we were cut from a similar cloth, so we became close friends, and were tight the whole time.”
Both Wales and Gash now look back and realise their closeness was one of the reasons Gash was targeted early on, but at the time they didn’t realise how dangerous it was.
“I was really complacent about it at the time, because I thought there were other people on the tribe who would get knocked out, even though we were in dangerous territory as we were being close ” Wales said.
Gash said it has been enjoyable to watch Australian Survivor with her new boyfriend.
“It’s the beginning of a relationship,” she said.
“So it’s nice to walk away from such an intense experience, and then to be able to share that experience.
“But also then it’s something completely separate to that.
“I think we are just enjoying a life completely removed from Survivor, while having to watch it.”
Gash was one of the more strongest competitors on Australian Survivor and she has the perfect makeup to be on the show — she has ran across India and South Africa to raise money for charity.
She spent 17 days in Samoa, and had mixed feelings after getting voted out.
“You go numb, then you have a zillion thoughts going through your head,” she said.
“One is disappointment that you didn’t do what you set out to do, and the other one was, I get to each a burger.
“You think, maybe this game isn’t for me.
“You go through lots of different thoughts to justify your feelings, but you have to keep remind yourself you are one of 24 people lucky enough to even go to Samoa to play the game.”
Australian Survivor airs on Channel 10 at 7.30pm on Sunday and Monday nights.
Originally published as Survivor becomes a ‘game of love’