Friday, July 19, 2013

The Red Bull X-Alps 2013 Is Over

Monaco welcomed its tenth and final athlete on Friday morning, just hours before the Red Bull X-Alps came to an end at 12:00 local time.
It is perhaps fitting that on the ten-year anniversary of the first Red Bull X-Alps, it should be Toma Coconea (ROM, picture attached) to arrive in 10th place as he has competed in every edition of the race since 2003.
The 37-year-old, perhaps more than any other athlete, embodies the spirit of the race with his determination and never-say-die attitude. Famous for the Herculean distances he's able to cover on foot — in both 2011 and 2009 he hiked over 900km — the last day saw him hike 130km to Peille. He reached the final turnpoint at 22:52 to be greeted by cheering crowds and blaring horns. He had hardly stopped since starting at 5:30am that day.
"He is crazy", said a friend of Coconea's who was running with him.
Along the way, his supporter Daniel Pisica, a Colonel in the Romanian army, smoking a cigar and with AC/DC blaring out of the van's stereo, shouted commands at him to keep him going. "Come on soldier, fight!" he yelled.
Paul Guschlbauer (AUT1) arrived in 9th place on Thursday, a few hours before Coconea. Having placed third in 2011 he was looking for big things in 2013 but his result is a reminder that with the Red Bull X-Alps, it's an adventure first and anything can happen. He reached Peille at 17:17, in a very respectable time of 11 days, five hours and 50 minutes.
Race director Christoph Weber says it was one of the best editions of the race: "It was amazing for a number of reasons. The weather and flying conditions were really good making it a very fast and dynamic race. We also had a lot more teams reaching Monaco, which makes it special. When Coconea arrived they all gave him a warm welcome. It was an incredible atmosphere. The race has a very special spirit. Another reason that made it special were the mini-battles that went on — like the fight for 2nd and 3rd place and 4th and 5th place. It was a very close race for the athletes and very exciting to watch".

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