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 will be returning as 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 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 –  March 2020

A FREE training weekend on the course will be held over Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th March 2020. Attendance on the training runs are FREE (please RSVP on the Facebook Event Invitation) however any accommodation, food, other costs etc, fall on the athlete.

We will lead runners on a non-competitive, group run on both days with everyone running at their own pace but safe in the knowledge that there are 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 – this is a training run after all! Sure, faster runners will be up front and don’t need to wait but slower runners can take their time and rest assured that we can assist if needs be.

The training weekend will be a great way meet others also training for the event, to share experiences and get in some great race specific training on the course before race day itself.

SATURDAY 28th March:

We will run leg 3 from Contos Camground through to The White Elephant Café at Gnarabup (19.5km). Runners may also stop at Redgate Beach (14km).

  • 8:00am For runners doing the full 19.5km run and needing the bus: Meet at the White Elephant cafe (run finish pt) to park your car and catch the bus to the start.
  • 8:15am For runners doing the shorter 14km run to Redgate and needing the bus: meet Emma at the Redgate Beach car park to catch a mini bus to the start (max 7 people).
  • 8:50am All runners: Meet at the Conto Campground (Wanil camping area) off Conto Road near Lake Cave for a course briefing
  • 9:00am We start running leg 3!

SUNDAY 29th March

We will run most of leg 4, starting at Surfers Point at the Margaret River mouth (meet at lowest car park nearest the river) and run through to Gracetown (16.5km total). Runners may also stop at Ellensbrook Homestead (11km) if you want to pull out a bit early.

  • 8:00am For runners doing the full 16.5km run and needing the bus: Meet at Gracetown (gravel car park beside beach) to park your car and catch the bus to the star
  • 8:15am For runners doing the shorter 11km run to Ellensbrook and needing the bus: meet Emma at the Ellensbrook Homestead car park (the car park nearest the homestead) to catch a mini bus to the start (max 7 people)
  • 8:50am All runners: Meet at Surfers Point – at the lower car park adjacent the Margaret River mouth for a course briefing
  • 9:00am We start running leg 4!

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.
– We will arrange a shuttle bus to shuttle runners from the finish to the start at a cost of $10 pp each day.

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). We will post further information nearer the weekend.

2019 Training Weekend – Review:

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the training runs over the course in March 2019.

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

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.

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]