The 20th anniversary edition of the X-Alps was full of records:
- 23 athletes in goal – the largest amount to date.
- Eli Egger (AUT4) is the first woman ever to make goal in the race.
- Damien Lacaze (FRA2) made the longest flight in the race’s history: 266km in 11h 13m
- The fastest race on record – with Chrigel Maurer (SUI1) finishing it in 6d 6h 1m
- Maurer’s 8th consecutive victory!
- The closest race on record, with 17 athletes all making goal within 24 hours of the winner.
“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.”, commented Ulrich Grill, co-founder of the race together with the late Hannes Arch.
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 a 1,223km course around the Alps via 15 Turnpoints and five countries on foot and by air. 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.
Eli Egger became the first woman to make goal in the world’s toughest adventure race after covering the 1,223km around the Alps by foot and paraglider in 11 of the 13-day long route. Ulrich Grill said about her: “Many congratulations to Eli. It’s a great achievement and she has shown that women can take on and succeed in this race. The first time women competed was in 2005 and up until now, only eight women have taken part. With this edition, we had five women originally entered. Eli’s achievement will give more women the confidence and belief to take on what is undoubtedly the world’s toughest adventure race.”
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.
Full race results and + info at redbullxalps.com.