One of Australia’s most in-demand ultra races saw a capacity field of 1,500 participants complete the 80km Margaret River Ultra Marathon in perfect weather conditions on Saturday 7 May, 2022.
The fifth edition of the event was held along the breathtaking Cape to Cape coastline in south-west Western Australia from Hamelin Bay, through to the finish line at Howard Park Wines in Wilyabrup.
A number of the Country’s finest elite ultra-trail runners put on a world-class show with two exceptional course records being set by Joshua Chugg and Anna McKenna; both etching their names in the history books in impressive times of 06:40:32 and 07:09:55, respectively.
McKenna also becomes the third fastest-ever over the 80km course after crossing the continent to take on the bucket-list race for the first time. Mckenna finished well ahead of her rivals Sarah Ludowici of Victoria (07:47:07) and Lisa Mannix from Esperance WA (08:08:08).
McKenna said she was looking for a confidence booster after her previous race in Noosa and is chuffed with how she performed. “I wanted to go out and run my own race today, so I started pretty conservatively, and my plan was to build from there; I managed to do that pretty well I think,” said McKenna. “I don’t really like to look at my watch in a race as I prefer to gauge it with how I’m feeling and run to that.”
“However one thing I kept reminding myself was just to look up; to look at the surroundings and how beautiful it is out there, especially across those challenging sand sections… I just kept moving and taking it all in,” added McKenna.
Equally as impressive as McKenna’s run was the strength of the female field as a whole in the 2022 race. Four of the top ten placegetters were female; with 11 in the top 20; and female participants making up a total 50% of the field across solo’s and relay teams. Both Mckenna and Ludowici also hail as previous Surf Coast Century ultra marathon champions.
In the men’s division, Chugg was on a mission from the starters gun aiming to go one-up from his second place finish in 2020 to dual-winner (2019 and 2020) and this years’ second-placed Justin Scarvaci of Perth (07:08:07).
Chugg’s outstanding course-breaking time bettered that of Scarvaci’s by approximately 35 minutes. Adrian Castle finished third in 07:57:17.
350 solo competitors completed the point-to-point course in ideal race conditions, with the remainder of the field running as part of a relay team of 2 to 5 members covering 10-20km each.
The event reached capacity within six weeks of entries opening in October last year in only its’ fifth appearance. Organisers Rapid Ascent have a self-imposed entry limit to preserve the competitor experience for those running on the day.
First place relay team was Ogging Squad who finished in a swift course time of 6:09:17, and included team members Nick Thompson, Sam Lade, Reece Harris, Jonathan Sammut and Agostino Zurzolo.
Competitors finished well into the night at Howard Park Wines after a spectacular journey that took them through tall karri forests, coastal trails, beaches and bluffs with sweeping views across the magical Margaret River region.
A 2km Kids Run was also held on Sunday morning prior to presentations.
“We have witnessed some history-making running at this years event in ideal weather conditions; it really was such a successful day all round,” said Sam Maffett, General Manager of organisers Rapid Ascent.
“Competitors seemed to really embrace all aspects of the event from the course through to the finish line environment and great camaraderie no matter if they raced solo or as part of a relay team,” added Maffett. “Well done to everyone who participated and supported this race.”
The 2023 Margaret River Ultra Marathon will be held on 6 May with entries to open in September. The event is expected to once again sell out.
Top 3 Men
|1||Josh Chugg||06:40:32 (course record)|
Top 3 Women
|1||Anna McKenna||07:09:17 (course record and 3rd fastest time ever)|