Courtesy of Red Bull Media Room
Swiss flying ace wins toughest adventure race in the world for a record fifth time.
Christian Maurer successfully completed the most challenging race of his career on Thursday by arriving in Monaco ahead of his rivals for an unprecedented fifth Red Bull X-Alps victory.
Despite starting the race with an illness and finishing with a knee injury, Maurer finished the epic 1,138km adventure from Salzburg to the principality in 10 days, 23 hours and 23 minutes.
The Swiss maestro arrived at the final turn point in Peille at 10.53am with his arms aloft, safe in the knowledge the clock would stop and he couldn’t be caught by the advancing French rookie Benoit Outters.
After taking the final flight down to the beach at Roquebrune at 6.45pm, Maurer celebrated by taking a dive in the Mediterranean fully clothed.
He said: “To be here for the fifth time and to win the race is a great feeling. I felt a lot of pressure this time and it started badly.
“And with the wind, rain and thunderstorms, I’ve never faced such bad weather in the Red Bull X-Alps before. But above all it’s an adventure first and foremost, not a competition.
“I’m very happy to be here. For my knees, it’s good to be over. They never had to work so hard. This is the first time I’ve hiked over 500km, normally it’s more like 300km. Right now I’m just looking forward to being able to relax.”
The 2017 edition of the adventure and paragliding competition saw athletes from 20 countries hike and paraglide their way through the course, taking in the skies and mountains of Austria, Slovenia, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, France and Monaco along the way.
En route Maurer battled bad weather, injury, thunderstorms, and at one point found himself trailing in 21st place before recovering and storming into the lead.
Outters was the next to finish in a time of 11 days, one hour and 12 minutes after an extraordinary feat of endurance, running 192km in two days.
After landing, he said: “I am very happy, it’s just enormous. It was very, very difficult but I am super happy to be here.”
Another 15 athletes are still out on the course, aiming to complete the journey before the race finishes at 10.53am on Friday.
Race Director Christoph Weber, said: “Tell me another athlete who’s dominated his sport for eight years like Maurer has. This year was also a much more punishing course and the weather made it harder for him. He excels in the air, but had to hike much of the last 200km, so it was not easy for him at all.”