Red Bull X-Alps 2017 will start on July 02, 2017 and will be the eighth edition of the world’s toughest adventure race. It's a bold claim – but one it surely deserves. It's difficult to think of another race that demands such a high level of fitness and technical skill – or lasts so long. The combination of trekking and paragliding is one of the most exciting hybrids to emerge from the ongoing convergence of mountain sports.
The rules are simple. Athletes must race across the Alps, by foot or paraglider via set Turnpoints, usually a straight-line distance of over 1,000km. Over the years, the race has attracted and tested to the limit some of the world's top adventurers. It demands not only expert paragliding skill but extreme endurance. Some athletes will hike over 100km and 1000's of meters in altitude in a day.
“The Red Bull X-Alps is the definition of true adventure.” Gavin McClurg (Team USA2).
Each team consists of one athlete and one supporter. The supporter is there to help with logistics, strategy, food, medical support and provide psychological assistance. The role of the supporter is hugely important – they truly are the unsung heroes of the race.
Athletes race between the hours of 05:00 to 22:30. Since 2013, athletes have been able to pull a Night Pass that allows them to push-on through the night on foot, normally a mandatory rest period.
The 2015 edition saw 19 of the 32 athletes make the goal – a record number since the first race in 2003. Incredibly, 12 rookies crossed the finish line in Monaco, including athletes from the US, Korea, New Zealand and elsewhere for the first time in history.
New to the 2015 edition was the one-day Prologue race. Fans were close to the action as the athletes raced from Fuschl am See, past the Zwölferhorn and Schafberg turnpoints, and back. The Prologue will return in 2017! The first three athletes each gain an additional Led Lenser Nightpass and a five-minute headstart on the main race start. In 2015, Paul Guschlbauer (AUT) won the Prologue in 2h 21m.
Swiss athlete Christian Maurer, however, won the Red Bull X-Alps 2015 race in the time of 8 days, 4 hours and 37 minutes. It was his fourth successive win – and a new record. Could 2017 see athletes like Sebastian Huber or Paul Guschlbauer end Maurer’s reign as Red Bull X-Alps champion? Only one thing is certain – anything could happen!