Thursday, July 13, 2017

Christian Maurer Wins 2017 Red Bull X-Alps

That crazy adventure race unfolding in the Alps that we've been following for the past couple of weeks isn't over just yet, but we do have a winner.

Recently, I've posted a few updates on the Red Bull X-Alps, which I find to be one of the most unique competitions on the planet. In the event, racers trail run and paraglide across Europe, starting in Salzburg and ending in Monaco. Over the course of the race, they must pass through a series of checkpoints, by first running to the top of a mountain, then deploying their paraglider, sailing from the summit and traveling as far as they can, before doing it all over again. While in the field they must also be completely self supported, carrying everything they need to survive on their backs.

Today, the first two competitors crossed the finish line, with Swiss racer Christian Maurer arriving in Monaco first, followed a few hours later by French athlete Benoit Outters. It took Maurer, who has won this event in the past and was clearly the man to beat all along, 11 days, 23 hours, and 23 minutes to cover the entire course, which is 1138 km (707 miles) in length.

One of the more unique rules of the X-Alps is that after the first 48 hours, the last place racer is eliminated from the event, with another to follow every 48 hours after that. This has the effect of whittling down the field and giving the competitors an incentive to keep moving and staying ahead of everyone else. The race also has a tight cut-off for the finish too, which is at 10:53 AM tomorrow morning, local Monaco time. Right now, there are four or five other athletes who are scrambling to try to beat that cut-off, but it is unclear how many of them will actually make it. As many as six could cross the finish line, which would be a record for the event.

Congrats to Maurer for claiming victory in Monaco. You can learn more about the Red Bull X-Alps, and follow the remaining racers live, on the race's official website.