One of the world’s great adventure races, the Red Bull X-Alps takes to the mountains and the skies again in 2021.

16 March, 2021

In 2021 the ultimate mountain adventure race once again takes to the hills and the skies as 33 elite athletes from around the world put themselves through hell. There’s really nothing quite like the Red Bull-X Alps, a unique combination of mountain climbing, running and paragliding that sees the participants cover more than 1000km in recent years, carrying all of their own gear and facing extreme challenges of min d and body.

Held every second year, 2021 will mark the event’s 10th year, the 30 male and three female athletes selected rot take part this year will hike, run, climb and paraglide their way across the Alps in a race that has grown to cover more than 1000km starting in Salzburg. The official route for this year’s race is yet to be announced, hence the exact race distance for 2021 is not yet known.  The route is varied each year so that each race is unique, and as athletes have gotten faster and their times lower, race organisers have systematically increased the race distance over the years from its original 750km to the last event held in 2019 which was 1100km. 

The original event was inspired by Toni Bender’s first crossing of the Alps in 1999. A documentary made about the feat, achieved on foot and using paraglider was enough to inspire Austrian pilot, Hannes Arch, who set out to turn it into a competition of sorts.

The first Red Bull X-Alps was held in 2003, with 17 athletes setting out on the ordeal, but only three eventually crossing the finishing line. The journey from the Dachstein Glacier near Salzburg, to Monaco, took 11 days, 22 hours and 55 minutes.

Each year since, an entirely new route has been set out to ensure that each instalment of ‘the world’s toughest race’ is unique. Athletes are required to sign in at mandatory ‘turnpoints’ throughout the competition in oder to move on to the next stage and every 48 hours, the athlete sitting in last place is eliminated from the competition.

This year the a prologue to the event will be held on June 17th to establish the starting order for the main event, with the X-Alps race will then get underway from June 20th.