400 metres, lactic acid, a heart rate of 200bpm and a 37 degree climb

Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service Team

Patricia Kaiser running up the ski jumping hill in Bischofshofen, Austria on August, 26th 2017. –
Photographer Credit:
Mirja Geh / Red Bull Content Pool

Discover the brutal reality of Red Bull 400, the world’s toughest 400m race.

The world’s toughest 400 metre race is set for another season with Red Bull 400 kicking off in Finland, Japan and the USA on Saturday May 12.

Competitors from around the globe have 17 events at which to race up a ski jump ramp in the quickest time possible. Here is all you need to know:

– It has unsurprisingly been billed as the hardest 400m of your life, taking 600 to 800 steps to reach the peak.

– The climb reaches 37 degrees steepness with most athletes reduced to all fours when the slope reaches 30 degrees.

– On average, the heartrate hits around 200bpm when getting towards the top.

– In all, the elevation gain over the 400m course is 140m.

Competitors perform at the Red Bull 400 in Harrachov, Czech Republic on August 12, 2017 –
Photographer Credit:
Jan Kasl / Red Bull Content Pool

– The crawling begins when your thigh muscles can’t get enough oxygen and the muscles start to lose their contractile function. Meanwhile, the lactic acid build-up is about 20 times more than normal.

– The defending men’s champion is Turkey’s Ahmet Arslan, who has remarkably won 14 of the 16 races in which he has competed. The 31-year-old was the first Red Bull 400 world champion and was the event’s first ever race winner. One of his dreams is to see mountain running become an Olympic sport.

– Arslan says of Red Bull 400: “A good warm-up is important. You must use the whole body. When I reach the finish line, I don’t feel my muscles. You can run only 100m or 150m, after that you must give too much effort. All muscles are tight, your breath is tight, it’s too much lactic acid.”

– Red Bull 400 was born back in 2011, the aim being to find out the quickest person up a 400m ski jump ramp.

– This season in 2018, there are now 17 events spanning from May to October, four more than in 2017, with Whistler Mountain in Canada back on the calendar.

– There are men, women and relay events to be decided over the course at each event starting with heats, going onto semi-finals and then onto the final itself. The heats can involve up to 100 athletes and the winner of each heat advances to the next round.

Participants perform at the Red Bull 400 in Sochi, Russia on October 28, 2017 –
Photographer Credit:
Denis Klero/Red Bull Content Pool


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