Red Bull Trail Heads footrace will put runners on an MTB trail
(Photo/Sportpoint, Shutterstock)

Red Bull Trail Heads Pits Runners Against Punishing Downhill MTB Course

On Saturday, Nov. 13, Red Bull Trail Heads will pit trail runners against five stages of gnarly MTB singletrack on Australia’s Gold Coast. Two winners will earn a spot on 2022’s Red Bull 400 roster.

“It’s plug-and-play MTB enduro, except instead of only using the downhills, we’re using the uphills as well,” said endurance aficionado Courtney Atkinson.

He’s talking about his brainchild, Red Bull Trail Heads. It’s a brand-new, ego-spanking, five-stage footrace set to premiere next month at NV Gravity Park on the Australian Gold Coast.

The fastest male and female runners will receive entry and travel to the Red Bull 400 race, which will take place in Japan next year.

Here’s what you can expect from the event.

Red Bull Trail Heads Format, Features

trail runner in Australia's deep woods
(Photo/Lyndon Marceau Photography)

Red Bull pared the 6.5km (4-mile) footrace into five timed stages. Each stage will follow a marked singletrack mountain bike trail, and each segment will feature plenty of variety.

Quick “transfer segments” will bookend each stage where runners can recover and “catch up with mates.”

Red Bull reserved a private mountain bike park for the event, and competitors will encounter all of the features and obstacles the park presents to its riders.

From flowy lines, technical terrain, steep climbs, and hectic descents to boulders, bushes, paddocks, and ridges — Atkinson and his team at Red Bull are packing Trail Heads with everything except the wheels.

MTB: Wheels Off

Courtney Atkinson and Lindsey Lawry perform during the Red Bull Defiance in Australia, 2019; (photo/Graeme Murray, Red Bull Content Pool)
Courtney Atkinson and Lindsey Lawry perform during the Red Bull Defiance in Australia, 2019; (photo/Graeme Murray, Red Bull Content Pool)

“If you said to me, ‘How would you like to race? What’s something different, and what’s going to be fun?’ Red Bull Trail Heads is that,” said Atkinson. “It’s just something I would want to do!”

We should expect such a comment from the likes of him. After all, this is the Aussie who once spent 8 days trampling up and down Australia’s tallest peaks.

Registration, Event Info

The inaugural Red Bull Trail Heads event will kick off at 8:30 a.m. local time on Saturday, Nov. 13, at the NV Gravity Mountain park in Australia’s Numinbah Valley. Race check-in will begin at 6:30 a.m.

At the time of press, registration for the event is still open. Learn more at Red Bull Trail Heads and register to run at

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Jilli Cluff

Jilli grew up in the rural southern Colorado mountains, later moving to Texas for college. After seven years in corporate consulting, she was introduced to sport climbing — and life would never be the same. She now works as a contributor, gear tester, and editor for GearJunkie and other outlets within the AllGear family. She is based out of Atlanta, Georgia where she takes up residence with her climbing gear and one-eared blue heeler, George Michael.