Toma Coconea has competed in every edition of the race and is known for the Herclulean distances he's able to cover on foot. In both 2011 and 2009 he hiked over 900km. So when he found himself with 130km still to go on the last day — and with poor flying conditions — there was only one thing to do.
The 37-year-old athlete, who is supported locally by Suunto, did what he does best — and started running. Accompanied by his support crew and his army of fans, the Romanian set a steady 7'30min/km pace through the winding roads of southern France.
“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.
Having set off at 05:30 Coconea eventually made the finish line at Peille, which overlooks Monaco, at 22:52 to be greeted by cheering crowds and blaring horns.
“When Coconea arrived everyone gave him a warm welcome,” says race director Christoph Weber. “It was an incredible atmosphere.”
But for all 31 athletes, who were each equipped with a Suunto Ambit2, the jouney was an incredible adventure that began in Salzburg, Austria on July 7th. The race concept is simple — to journey in the fastest time possible to Monaco by foot or paraglider along a set route that passes through five countries and some of the most spectacular terrain of the Alps.
The straight-line distance of 1,031km does not do justice to the feat — most athletes who reached Monaco before the race end had covered over 2,500km.
Suunto congratulates all the athletes for taking part.
The 2013 Red Bull X-Alps results are:
1. Christian Maurer (SUI1): 6d 23hr 40m
2. Clement Latour (FRA1): 8d 16hr
3. Antoine Girard (FRA2): 8d 16hr 30m
4. Jon Chambers (GBR): 9d 5hr 12m
5. Peter Gebhard (ITA2) 9d 7hr 40m
6. Ferdinand Van Schelven (NED) 10d 9hr 27m
7. Aaron Durogati (ITA1): 10d 10hr 28m
8. Martin Muller (SUI2): 10d 21hr 43m
9. Paul Guschlbauer (AUT1): 11d 5hr 47m
10. Toma Coconea (ROM): 11d 11hr 22m
11. Honza Rejmanek (USA1): 101km*
12. Victor Sebe (FRA3): 113km
13. Thomas de Dorlodot (BEL): 153km
14. Evgenii Griaznov (RUS): 154km
15. Pawel Faron (POL:) 154km
16. Kaoru Ogisawa (JPN1): 168km
17. Andy Frötscher (ITA3): 182km
18. Shoichiro Tadano (JPN2): 184km
19. Michal Krysta (CZE): 229km
20. Max Mittmann (GER3): 261km
21. Mike Küng (AUT2): 379km
22. Raul Penso (VEN): 385km
23. Max Fanderl (CAN): 411km
24. Lars Budack (GER2): 428km
25. Pil Pyo Hong (KOR): 430km
26. Pierre Carter (RSA): 553km
27. Iñigo Gabiria (ESP): 588km
28. Stephan Haase (USA2): Retired
29. Thomas Hofbauer (AUT3): Eliminated
30. Babu Sunuwar (NPL) Eliminated
31. Claudio Heidel (ARG) Eliminated
* This is the distance athletes still had to go to Monaco.