Downhill runners head to Kitzbühel for the inov-8 Descent Race

White-knuckle event returns to the Austrian Alps, 2 October 2021

The beautiful and historic Alpine town of Kitzbühel in the Austrian mountains hosts an impressive array of events each year, spanning countless sporting, cultural, music and family themed festivals. As Covid restrictions ease, many favourites are returning, including the fourth edition of the inov-8 Descent Race, which is scheduled for 2 October 2021.

Taking place on the Hahnenkamm mountain, the inov-8 Descent Race sees competitors swap their skis for running shoes, as they take on the world’s most notorious downhill ski slope, the Streif, which race organisers describe as ‘a blood-curdling, insane slope with blind drops and daredevil jumps’. With a gradient of up to 80%, contenders cover a distance of 700m, with the course comprising a 350m descent, following by a 350m ascent of the mountain.

The first edition of the inov-8 Descent Race took place in 2018, and despite the Covid pandemic, has taken place every year since. Co-staged by the British footwear brand inov-8, the event has become a favourite for running and adventure sports enthusiasts, with both professionals and amateurs able to compete. At the 2020 edition, runners took part from the UK, Italy, Germany and Austria, with Rene Claussnitzer (pictured below) recording the fasted decent, with a time of 53:88 seconds.

At this year’s event, for the first time, runners will be able to compete in teams of two. Contenders will set off in 30 second intervals, through the gates of the iconic start-line at the top of the Hahnenkamm. From there, they will be required to weave in and out of flags along route, while managing to stay on two feet. Times recorded by the downhill runners will be placed onto a leaderboard, with winners announced in a ceremony at the end of the day. There is a cost of €30 pp to register for the race, with cash prizes of up to €200.

Image copyright Michael Werlberger and Andi Andi Aufschnaiter

Austria is a UK government ‘green list’ destination, meaning safe, quarantine-free travel to Kitzbühel is possible for competitors and those that wish to simply spectate and take in the carnival type atmosphere. Beyond downhill running, in the autumn Kitzbühel is perhaps best known for being the leading centre of sports and recreation in the Alps, boasting world class tennis, MTB and archery facilities. The resort is also a must for golf lovers, with four top courses in Kitzbühel and a further 26 courses within an hour and a half’s drive. What’s more, thrill-seekers are spoilt for choice in Kitzbühel, with the town making a great base for anyone wanting to take advantage of the region’s
e-biking, paragliding and trail-running offerings.

 For more information and to register for the event, visit the inov-8 Descent Race website