For the 2020 and 2021 season, USWA in conjunction with Ultra Series Australia are very proud to sponsor 12 amazing and inspiring athletes from around the country. All of different abilities and different walks of life, they all have our shared philosophy of passion for the trails and determination in stretching their own capabilities in a way that inspires others.

Annabel Hepworth, Castlecrag, NSW

I run because I feel at peace when I do. My “best” result would be the 10-day at Across the Years 2019-20. Some 1192km in total, the 1000km split was a new Aus women’s record on that distance, and based on the 10-day splits maintained by the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team out of New York, the 10-day result is second on the female all-time ladder. Certainly I was in good nick at the time but I didn’t expect to have such a blinder of a race.

My second biggest achievement is my daughter not throttling me yet; not badly at least.

The amount of chocolate I can plough through in any one day is extremely impressive — I’d rank that as my third-biggest achievement.

Simone Watkins, Orelia, WA

Why I run – Started running around 5 years ago and I have found that I love long distances and spending hours running trails. I run for self-care, to spend time away from the stress of everyday life and reset my mind and body. The community and family I discovered via running has been life changing. The support and encouragement that the ultra running community provide has pushed me to do more than I could imagine and I hope to pass this onto others.


December 2018 – 3inch (25km) my first half marathon distance

2019 – USWA Couch to 200miles semi-finalist – this program gave me the confidence to chase my dreams and made me a stronger person in my non-running life

January 2020 – Australia Day Ultra (50km) my first marathon and ultra marathon distance. No going back!!

Darlene Dale, Quinns Rocks, WA

Running is a release for me and relaxes my mind while pushing my body. I love a challenge and all the events vary so much so no 2 events are ever the same.

My 3 best accomplishments are – My beautiful family, my 11 kids always believing in me and full of encouragement and running in many events themselves, my Amazing Husband Shannon who is my Rock always there for me and has become a massive part of the tribe taking photos and helping out and encouraging everyone else on course to be their best . – Even though Delirious West still waits for my completion I’m so proud of the distance I covered 318km woo hoo . – Proud of myself (even though I’ve always been into sports) for having the courage to commit to my first running event in my late 40’s and growing from there to doing many full marathons and Ultras since. Myself and my family love our Tribe at USWA and look forward to seeing all your beautiful smiling sweaty faces out on the trails soon .

Jon Pendse, Kingsley, WA

Running is my drug of choice, my daily fix, my natural high, running is what grounds and centers me time and time again.  I love that there is no definition of success or failure, instead it is all about perception, self-reflection and personal growth.  Running truly is a life-long commitment.  Running is my passion.” “Running is my drug of choice, my daily fix, my natural high, running is what grounds and centers me time and time again.  I love that there is no definition of success or failure, instead it is all about perception, self-reflection and personal growth.  Running truly is a life-long commitment.  Running is my passion.

3 Biggest Running Achievements:

  • Perth Running Festival 2019, Marathon pb 2.42.59, 10th overall 
  • Delirious 200 miler 2020 Race Winner, 70hrs:13mins:08secs   
  • Lighthorse 12-hour Ultra 2019:  142.2km, unofficially 5th all-time best Australian performance over 12 hours 

George Mihalakellis, Mt Waverley, VIC

I started running 10 years ago and wanted to complete a marathon. Got mixed up with the wrong people and jumped into ultras after only 6 months. I discovered parkrun and also loved to combine travelling with running and that’s how I find myself here today My biggest achievements have been coming back from a DNF at Coast to Kosci in 2015 to a good finish 35.37 in 2016 and then a stronger finish of 32.30 in 2017. Becoming the 14th Australian to complete Spartathlon in 2018. I only had 5 minutes to spare from the final cut off while running through a cyclone. And then completing Tahoe 200 miler in 2019, a measured start and strong finish to move through the field into 33rd place and 79 hours. More than 40 ultra marathons later, I can’t imagine weekends without some sort of running adventure.

Nicole Vaughan, Brunswick, VIC

I run to experience new – places, parts of my brain and possibilities!!!

My 3 biggest achievements to date have been:

1. Finishing Delirious West 200miler , 2020

2. Completing my first track Ultra – 24Hrs – First female – 191km

3. Running for three days through NZ wilderness for a pair of Undies! A100 – Aorangi Undulator


Michael Hooker, East Perth, WA

There are many reasons that I love to run, but ultimately I’ve been blessed with this gift from God and have been able to used it to personally persevere through difficult times, inspire others and most importantly meet like minded people and have been able to help/encourage some of them to achieve their own running goals.

Right from my childhood, I’ve always been a decent runner. Whether it was cross country, track and field events or in ball sports, I used my gift to the best of my ability.

My three biggest running achievements to date would be my 2019 Birdy’s Backyard win, followed by my victories at the 2020 Australia Day and Lark Hill Dusk til Dawn Ultra marathons in the 100km category, both set in new course record times.

As it does, life has thrown me a few surprises and at different times life changing setbacks. But running has been one thing that has never let me down and has always been there for me.
As I always say “Run with your heart, not your legs. Your legs get tired and give up, but your heart will push on and see you through”.


Wayne McMurtrie, Leederville, WA

I am an Army Veteran who was diagnosed with PTSD in 2009. I had a rough time, having difficulty finding purpose and direction until I stumbled into Ultra Running. I found that running gave my life a structure and routine that I had missed. Running proved to be an effective way to manage the symptoms of PTSD, improving both my mental and physical health.

I now use Ultra-Marathons as a tool to deliver messages to the community about overcoming their own problems, connecting with local community groups and focusing on positive actions that we all can take to make lives better.

My 3 biggest achievements in running are the 1500km Run for Resilience in 2018, placing 2nd in the 2019 Wild Goose Running Festival Ducks Nuts and my DNF at WTF in 2014 where I learnt the hard truth about running Ultra Marathons and what it took to overcome adversity.

Sarah Foster, Esmerelda Station, QLD

I run because it helps me to manage my depression. Running makes me feel good and happy and like superwoman! I have running to thank for my amazing group of friends and running family that I have met along the way. And a run always makes my day better!

My biggest achievements to date are;

Becoming the youngest managers with my husband for a property of our size in Australia.

Traveling all over the country and world for races and meeting the most amazing people!

And the third!!! Smashing the course record at Delirious would have to take the cake!!!

Ronald Li, Perth, WA

My WHY didn’t start and finish with USWA’s Couch to 200 Mile program back in 2019. The program gave me the opportunity and confidence to continue to learn, network and team up with a tribe and crew of extraordinary individuals.

I don’t run because its easy. I run because its hard! Embrace the struggle and have fun with every step. There’s more to running ultras then meets the eye. My 3 greatest achievements in life are family, self discipline & respect.

Richard Avery, Kojonup, WA

A life long lover of the outdoors, I took to running ultras in 2011 after looking for more beyond the marathon. It wasn’t until 2015 when my fitness really enabled me to experience the beauty of ultra-running that I really fell in love with the sport.

I found that being fit allowed me to see more, experience more, and live more. I signed up for every race I could, and through that, met a tremendous amount of amazing people. I couldn’t get enough of the sport.

In the Autumn of 2016, I had my first performance success, finishing 4th at Northburn 100miler. Later that year, took to the track to tough it out for 24hrs, completing 240.4km to qualify me for World Championships the following year. In the lead up to which, ran the Scenic Trail 116k in Switzerland, my best performance to date, and finishing 8th.

Sergio Gustinetti, Bergamo, Lombardy, Italy

The truth is that I’ve always hated running! But I have come to love what running brings to my life…
Nothing compares to the sense of achievement earned through the relentless training/commitment needed to pull off an Ultramarathon. As a meditator, running has given me a new dimension to mental discipline, allowing to achieve things I never thought possible. And supported and challenged by a tribe of extraordinary people I’ve met along the way, has become an adventure that now defines who I am as a person.

The three biggest achievements of my life:

-Winning the WTF100 2019 by three minutes, chased to the finish line by Ally Wilcox (paced by Shane Johnstone on my heels). I still have PTSD about those last 22 km through the night!

-Finishing Delirious W.E.S.T. 200 miler, after going through the hardest pains I experienced… after just 50km!

-Meditating 2 hours a day for a full year…every single day…twice a day. That’s a lot of meditation.