Entries have opened for next year’s Margaret River Ultra Marathon, which will feature a brand new 42km course. Organisers Rapid Ascent said interest only continued to grow for the adventure race, scheduled for its seventh outing in the Capes region in May 2024. “We have been blown away by the high demand on entries over recent years; the enthusiasm, camaraderie and scenery along the course are no doubt all part of the allure,” general manager Sam Maffett said. “Trail running is about getting away from the beaten track and enjoying the wilderness, and with more and more people keen to experience this magnificent event and region, it’s what led us to explore and design the new 42km course option.” Rapid Ascent have put a 1500-competitor entry limit for the headline 80km race, while just 400 contenders will take on the new 42km course. The 2018 event started with 700 entrants, capped to 1500 in recent years. Mr Maffett said the move was “to preserve the competitor experience on each race day”. “No matter if you’re part of a team, an accomplished ultra-runner or first timer, it really is an incredible experience for everyone involved and we can’t wait to welcome competitors and supporters to the 2024 event,” Mr Maffett said. The organisers urged solo competitors and relay teams to register early to avoid missing out. The new course was introduced as a “stepping stone” for those still working towards the signature main event. The 42km course starts at Yallingup Beach and takes runners along the Cape-to-Cape Track for a finish at Wilyabrup’s Howard Park Wines. The longer course takes in epic scenery including the Boranup Forest, Redgate and Gracetown, starting at Hamelin Bay and tracking north. The 2022 and 2023 winner and course record holder Joshua Chugg talked up the event as a staple on his calendar. “It’s such an interesting course being in a magic part of the world,” he said. “The beaches and forests are stunning.” The 2km children’s course will also return, held on Sunday, May 12 next year.