Training and Preparation

To make training for the Margaret River Ultra Marathon as achievable as possible we’ve gathered the following resources to provide you with some assistance and structure for your preparation.

We’ve compiled a list of training tips, course recommendations and running group links and information below, and if you have any other helpful information then please let us know.

Index to the information below:

Happy training!


SQUADRUN are our principle coaching partner for the 2020 Margaret River Ultra Marathon. SQUADRUN is the largest ‘coach led running community’ in the South Pacific region and are the chosen training partner for the 3 largest trail races in the region, so with their track record and experience we highly recommend their programs and their enthusiastic running community.

SQUADRUN is run by two passionate coaches but it’s also a massive running community of people who share their experiences and support one another on their journey to fitness. It is also an advanced training system which delivers high quality, easy to use, programmes for a fraction of what most coaches charge.

How it works
After getting to know a little about your experience, current fitness, fitness goals, and risk factors Kerry and Ali can start working on a training programme that’s right for you.  The training is a ‘priority based’ and you are given a series of weekly training runs to complete with the freedom to plan them around your busy schedule.

4 week coaching trial
As an introductory offer, SQUADRUN are providing a 4 week coaching trial of their training program for the discounted price of $29 each (normally ~$60). The $29 trial has no obligation, no hidden costs and no set-up fee.  You can begin your training when you want and leave at any time!

Visit the Margaret River Ultra Marathon store to purchase your 4 week trial HERE, visit the SQUADRUN website for more info or contact them direct with any queries via [email protected]


fyf training plan

Hanny Alston from Find your Feet has also prepared a FREE training plan for all athletes participating in the Margaret River Ultra Marathon. Hanny is one of Australia’s most accomplished trail runners and orienteers with World, National and State Championships to her name as well as numerous course records and race victories.

You will receive a link to download the free training planner once you enter the Margaret River Ultra Marathon. (Alternatively you can buy the training plan here for $15). CLICK HERE to view a 3 week teaser of the training plan!

The training plan above is best followed and understood when read in conjunction with Hanny’s Trail Running Guidebook.

We strongly recommend all runners purchase a copy of the Guidebook not just to aid your preparation for the Margaret River Ultra Marathon but to build your knowledge and understanding of trail running and how to best enjoy it sustainably for many years to come.

FREE training weekend on the course: 12th and 13th September

The Margaret River Trail Running Club are hosting a FREE training weekend on the course on 12th and 13th September 2020 . Attendance is FREE (please RSVP on the Facebook Event page) however any accommodation, food, other costs etc, fall on the athlete.

The training weekend is a great way to see parts of the course, meet other runners training for the event and feel safe in the knowledge that other runners gathering to do the same thing at the same time. These runs are NOT FAST and are 100% designed for runners of all abilities!

SATURDAY 12th September:

Run leg 3 from Contos Camground through to The White Elephant Café at Gnarabup (18km). Runners may also stop at Redgate Beach (12km). Run starts at 9:00am.

SUNDAY 13th September:

11-9 UPDATE: We have changed Sunday’s planned run to be from Ellensbrook Homestead to the Cheeky Monkey. 20km in total. See the updated details on the facebook event page.

Notes on the training runs:
– Runners must be self sufficient during the runs and bring all food / water / clothes you need to do it. Please help look after yourself and each other.
– Runners must arrange their own shuttle back to your cars (sorry – no bus this year).

Additional details about the weekend and all further discussion and updates for the weekend will be posted through this Facebook Event – so please click INTERESTED or GOING to stay in touch and so we have an idea of numbers (this is non-committal).

2019 Training Weekend – Review:

  • Photos from Saturday’s run on leg 3 can be found here
  • Photos from Sunday’s leg 4 / 5 run can be found here

NEW: Strength training programs and resources – FREE!

We are REALLY excited to be partnering with Campbell Craig from Run Strong who has prepared specific strength training programs for the Margaret River Ultra Marathon and made available an extensive resource of exercises, blogs and quality content on strength training for runners.

What are the benefits of strength training for runners? There is more and more evidence confirming the benefits of strength training, principally it fulfills three key purposes:

  • Injury Prevention. It allows you to train uninterrupted without interference from injury
  • Improved performance. It provides performance benefits such as improving running economy and delaying muscular fatigue.
  • It makes you a better runner.

How do I access the strength training programs for the MR Ultra Marathon?

  1. Join (sign up at the top right corner of the page)
  2. Check your email (and spam….) for your login code to MRUM on 
  3. OR watch the introductory video below where Campbell explains how to sign up, what equipment is needed and how his strength phases work.

Our recommendation: We truly cannot recommend the inclusion of strength training enough when preparing for any running event (especially for older runners) so encourage you to tap into this terrific FREE resource.

Read more at or contact Campbell directly at [email protected]

First timers

As with all things in life, the bigger the challenge… the bigger the reward. Most first time ultra marathon runners recall their first finish as one of the most incredible moments of their life. It’s amazing what your mind and body can achieve. So step up, sign up for a challenge and re-write your own limits.

  • Need training advice or people to train with? See the links above to the FREE training programs.
  • Not sure where to start? We can help – give us a call 03 5261 5511
  • Want to join a team? We can help – see our Teammate finder page HERE


First Timer Testimonials

“It was a great event as a new trail and ultra runner. The people I met along the way were really friendly and encouraging.” Charmain, 2019 First Timer, Solo

“Being my first ultra I can’t honestly see how you could make it any easier for a newbie. Everything was so well set up and staff were very welcoming. There was no need to stress about logistics at aid stations. The event was so well set up I could just focus on running and enjoy it all the more knowing all the other small stuff had been taken care of.” Alan, 2019 First Timer, Solo

“This was my first ultra experience and loved every part of the day! Will definitely be back next year!” Dave, 2018 First Timer, Solo

“As a virgin ultra-marathon runner the Margaret River Ultra Marathon is the perfect race to get you started. It’s varying leg lengths suit a good range of running ability and the scenery is stunning! It is so well organised and the atmosphere was incredible. This was the best running event I have been a part of… I will be there next year for sure!!!” Julie, 2018 First Timer, Relay Team Competitor


There are more and more (trail) running groups out there, all of whom are very welcoming of new runners and supportive of those tackling an ultra marathon. Listed below are a few of the more active WA groups but with a bit of searching I’m sure you’ll find some other runners near you no matter where you live.

Margaret River Trail Runners

Margaret River Trail Runners is a club formed to take advantage of the trails in the Margaret River region, to encourage more people to run and to meet and socialise with other runners. The club organises a social run most Saturday mornings at 7:00am and the occasional larger event. To run with us all you need to do is email us, and we will let you know where the runs are and any other details or learn more from their website or facebook page.

Dunsborough Running Club

Train up for the big weekend with the Dunsborough Running Club!

Training sessions are:

  • Tuesday 5:30pm
  • Friday 5:00pm
  • Sunday 8:00am.

Find out more on the Dunsborough Running Club Facebook page.

The Perth Trail Running Series

If you are based in Perth and want to hook up with some other trail runners or do a few shorter races then the Perth Trail Series is a great place to start. Organsied by one of the friendliest runners you’ll ever meet – Melina Melino – they have a summer and winter series and also meet for a social run at 5:55pm at Kings Park every Thursday. Check out their website and facebook page.

PHAT Runners

The Perth Hills And Trails is another Perth based trail running group who run the trails around Perth every week. They usually conduct at least two group runs per week (midweek and weekend), which vary from around 1.5 hours to 8 hours, from 12km to 50km+… They have a supportive and inclusive environment and welcome experiencd trail runners looking for a regular group. Check their website for more.

Manning Park Trail Runners

Clint and Sarah from Manning Park Trail Runners conduct a session every Thursday night at Manning Park in Hamilton Hill. Each week there is a range of up to 7 different groups, from hikers through to highly experienced fast trail runners. There’s a Kids session from 5-6pm, then the main session runs from 6-7:15pm. The main session includes a whole group warm up, then 1hr out on the trails at Manning Park with the different paced smaller groups, before regrouping for a cool down as a whole group. Check out their Facebook page and Instagram for more!

Victorian running groups

If you are from Victoria we have a long list of groups around Melbourne on our Surf Coast Century groups page here.

Please contact us if you are from, or know of other trail running groups in your area we could list here.

Where Else to train

Cape to Cape Walking Track – ideal training locations!

The Margaret River Ultra Marathon race course uses some sections of the Cape to Cape Walking Track. This makes it accessible on race day but also provides some safe and clearly marked routes for training runs in the lead up to the race.

The Cape to Cape Walk Track runs for 135 kilometres along the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge, between the lighthouses of Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin in the far south west of Western Australia.  It features spectacular coastal and forest scenery, a fascinating geology of cliffs, caves, headlands and rock formations and an ever-changing display of vegetation and wildflowers.

Visit the Cape to Cape Walking Track for detailed information including maps, track access points, track alerts, and join their ‘friends’ section to meet other friendly runners/walkers:

Forests and National Parks of the Margaret River Region

The south west coast of WA is a natural playground with pristine forests and bushland throughout the Margaret River Region. Click HERE for details on locations and maps which are all perfect training grounds for the Margaret River Ultra Marathon!

Got a Group session we can promote?

We are more than happy to promote other groups’ training sessions on the course – please email the details to [email protected]