This Saturday over 700 runners from across Australia and overseas will test themselves at the inaugural Margaret River Ultra Marathon, a scenic and diverse 80km trail running race from Hamelin Bay to Wilyabrup on the Cape to Cape coastline of south-west Western Australia.
Runners will pass through an awesome range of landscapes including awe-inspiring Karri tree forests, cliff top trails with endless ocean views, white sandy beaches, quaint coastal villages and rolling hinterland terrain.
Having been over to that part of the world before, I know that some of the allure of having a race over there is the opportunity for runners to combine their love of running with a visit to one of Australia’s most beautiful regions; while the course is within easy reach of the wineries, cafes and beaches that the area is famous for. Certainly a bit of a running holiday destination. This one is certainly on my list of to-dos over the next year or so.
So who’s in the mix for the title honours this weekend? First up we look at the women’s 80km race. And before we start, I’d like to offer a big hand to the organisers, Rapid Ascent for obtaining a 40 per cent female participation rate in the 80km ultra. When you consider the average for ultras is approximately 20-25 per cent, they’ve done a great job in this respect. Next challenge is to get that up to a nice 50:50 split for 2019 🙂
Women’s 80km Margaret River Ultra
In the ladies race, there’s a hefty Queensland contigent making it’s way across our fair isle and it’s two heavyweights of the running scene up that way that look to be two o the favourites for the inaugural title, Deb Nicholl and Jodie Oborne. However a lady to watch, and while she doesn’t have lots of ultra race history to go on is Karen Pinaar, who snuck in a very respectable 4:04 Canberra 50km ultra time a few weeks back to finish second place. Certainly got the pace to contest with the Queensland ladies. Below is a run down of those ladies who could be in contention on the day:
- Gayle Cowling – 7th GOW 2017; 3rd Wilson Prom 2017; 4th Mount Buller Skyrun 2017
- Deb Nicholl – LEGEND 🙂 – 2nd Washpool 50km 2017; 1st Run Larapinta 2017; 3rd GOW 2016; 1st Glasshouse Hares and Hounds 52km 2016
- Karen Pinaar – 2nd Canberra 50km 2018
- Emma Burgess – 11th Blackall 100 2017; 4th Peaks and Trails 2017; 9th Blackall 100 2016
- Sandra Mcleish – 5th GOW 2017
- Sandra Wharerau – 4th Australia Day 50km Ultra 2018; 7th Lark Hill 50K Dusk to Dawn Ultra 2017
- Nadine Seabrook – 5th Kep Track 100 km Ultra Marathon 2015
- Sarah Farrell – 1st Feral Pig Ultra 50km 2017; 10th Yaberoo Trail Ultra
- Jodie Oborne – 1st Wild Horse Criterium 6h 2018; 3rd Canberra 12hr 2017; 2nd 6h Caboolture Historical Village Dusk to Dawn 2017
- Billie Marshall – 3rd Vietnam Mountain Marathon 2015; 7th Surf Coast Century 100 km 2014
- Jaimi Greenslade – 1st Glasshouse 100km 2017; 6th Run the Great Whitsunday Trail 2017
- Ashlee Ritson – 2nd Trails & Ales Ultra 100km 2018
- Malani Moloney – 4th Lumberjack Ultra 2018; 3rd Kuranda to Port Douglas Trail Race 2017
- Leigh Hawkes – 9th Run Larapinta – Malbunka 2017; 8th The Wall Ultra Run 111 km 2016; 1st Centennial Park Ultra 100 km 2015
Men’s 80km Margaret River Ultra
In the men’s race, it could well be the ‘veterans’ of the sport cleaning out the younger generation, with three very experienced guys in the running, namely Andrew Cohen, Andrew Layson and former Aussie rep Mick Francis leading the charge. They’ll be chased however by the likes of Logan Vickers, Brett Tucker and Chris Wight – should be an interesting men’s race that is pretty wide open:
- Andrew Cohen – 3rd The Track Outback 520 km Stage Race 2011; 2nd Glasshouse 100 2010
- Sergio Gustinetti – 1st Feral Pig Ultra 50 Mile 2017; 3rd Waterous Trail on Foot 50 Mile 2017
- Logan Vickers – 2nd Trails & Ales Ultra 100km 2018; 3rd Waterous Trail on Foot 100 Mile 2017
- Brett Tucker – 2nd Lark Hill 100K Dusk to Dawn Ultra 2015; 6th Tarawera 60 km Ultramarathon 2015; 7th Six Inch Trail 46 km Marathon 2014
- Chris Wright – 1st The Tan 50km 2017
- Andrew Layson – 4th The Gazuntite 2018; 6th The Great North Walk 100 Mile 2017; 2nd Yaberoo Trail Ultra 2017; 7th Hounslow Classic Ultra SkyMarathon 2016
- Mick Francis – 5th Yaberoo Trail Ultra 2017; 6th Australia Day Ultra 100 Km 2016
All the best to runners this weekend. Very jealous!