Records tumble as the world’s toughest adventure race comes to an end.
The world’s toughest adventure race has finally come to an end. The clock officially stopped on the 2023 Red Bull X-Alps at 11:30am Friday June 23, just a few hours after Japanese athlete Emoto Yuji became the 23rd athlete to make goal. It’s been an historic and record-breaking edition of the race.
• 23 athletes made it to the finish line – more than at any time in the race’s history
• Eli Egger (AUT4) has become the first woman to make goal
• Damien Lacaze (FRA2) made the longest flight in the race’s history: 266km in 11h 13m
• It was the fastest race on record – with Chrigel Maurer (SUI1) finishing in 6d 6h 1m
• It was Maurer’s 8th consecutive victory – another record for the Swiss athlete
• It was the closest race on record, with 17 athletes all arriving within 24 hours of Maurer
• 2023 was the 20th anniversary of the first ever Red Bull X-Alps
Comments Ulrich Grill, who co-founded the race with the late adventurer and pilot Hannes Arch: “This has been the most extraordinary edition that anyone can remember. It’s been the fastest, the closest and most exciting race to follow. My congratulations go out to all athletes and their supporters. I salute their physical endurance, their paragliding skill and above all, their ability to stay safe in challenging conditions.”
Race director Ferdinand Vogel said: “With the 2023 edition, the race has reached new levels of speed and professionalism. What we see this year is that the level of athletes is just so unbelievably high. Never before have we seen athletes so closely bunched together and the lead change hands so many times. They are able to fly in the most challenging conditions. They are extremely strong on the ground. This was a race where the slightest mistake was punished. So I salute all the competitors. They all deserve our respect and congratulations – and a much needed rest!”
The 2023 Red Bull X-Alps began in Kitzbühel on June 11, with 32 athletes, including four women, embarking on 1,223km course around the Alps via 15 Turnpoints and five countries. The route followed a westward course across Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Athletes then had to round Mont Blanc in an anti-clockwise direction before returning across northern Italy. The final obstacle saw them cross the main chain of the Alps to the finish in Zell am See where athletes landed in spectacular fashion on a landing float in the lake.
While the battle for the podium was fierce and intense, for most athletes the primary objective was to simply make it around the grueling course. For them, taking part is the culmination of years of dreaming and many months of intense training while some had overcome insurmountable odds just to make it to the start line. The finishing float was the scene of many emotional moments as athletes broke down in tears as they savored their moment of victory.
French athlete Tim Alongi (FRA4), who managed to complete the race, despite breaking his back in a skiing accident in January, summed up the feeling for many: “I wish I had a word for this feeling of happiness,” he said.
Check out the full race results!
Top image © zooom / Christian Lorenz