A new event which burst onto the events calendar last year is already filling up with participants fast as it eyes a shift to the northern stretches of the Margaret River coastline this October. Margaret River Coastrek will celebrate its second year with a fresh, gruelling 35km course stretching from Yallingup Beach to the Dunsborough town centre. A shorter 20km course starts at the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse, with about 1500 challengers expected to be involved overall. And as with last year’s debut event, many of this year’s trekkers-in-training have deeply personal reasons for taking part. As well as getting out into nature, Coastrek offers a valued platform for fundraising. The 2022 event raised more than $250,000 for mental health charity Beyond Blue, and this October, participants will support Australia’s Heart Foundation. Heart and Soles team spokesperson Blair Pierson said his own father’s death from heart disease was a big motivator, and other members of the squad had their own personal reasons for undertaking this year’s trek. “The Heart Foundation is a super worthy cause,” the Margaret River man said. “My dad died of heart disease. He was only 59. His dad died of heart disease too. “The reality is that heart disease is, and has been, a leading cause of death for a long time. “Making donations to the Heart Foundation or supporting people that fundraise is a great way for anyone to contribute.” Team member Ailsa Hartley said she also lost her father to heart disease when he was just 57. “He was planning a road trip around Australia with my mum for his retirement, but sadly never got there,” she said. “So raising money to support not only research, but preventable education, is always important to me.” Ms Hartley and teammate Maike Lawrence-Brown met while working together at Basildene Manor and bonded over their mutual love of hiking. “Two years on, and here we are doing coast trek together with our partners Shaun and Blair,” Ms Hartley said. Heart disease was also a tragic issue the pair had in common. Ms Lawrence-Brown said she would undertake Coastrek to honour her mother Brigitte. She hoped money raised would fund “life-saving research and deliver treatment programs”. “This will have a life-changing impact on so many people,” she said. Billed as Australia’s most iconic hiking challenge, Coastrek describes the Margaret River route as “certainly the wildest and most remote” of their locations, journeying “along some of the most idyllic coastal trails in the world”. Founder Di Westaway said Coastrek started as a challenge to herself when she turned 40 — to get out more and clear her head as she struggled with loss of identity amid motherhood and the breakdown of her marriage — and that it was OK to find the trek daunting. Now in her 60s, Westaway said she never imagined her “impulsive decision” to climb a mountain would end up more than 20 years later with her heading up an organisation facilitating five adventure walks across the country each year and money raised going to charities. To donate to Hearts and Soles, visit www.coastrek.com.au/fundraisers/HeartsandSoles11258 For more on Coastrek, with registrations for teams closing on September 17, visit www.coastrek.com.au.