‘The Hardest 400 Meters Of Your Life’

Sprint (or slog) more than 40 stories toward the sky up a 35-degree slope for glory… and sheer pain.

red bull 400 sprint
Competitor seen during the Red Bull 400 in Planica, Slovenia on September 17, 2016. Photo credit: Samo Vidic, Red Bull Content Pool

If you skip the elevator in favor of the stairs, listen up. For the first time in its seven-year history, the grueling Red Bull 400 sprint challenge will crown a world champion.

Not familiar? The soul- and lung-crushing uphill run is just 400 meters long, roughly one-quarter of a mile. But that 400 meters forces participants to climb almost 460 feet up a ski jump.

red bull 400 sprint
Competitor struggles during Red Bull 400 in Planica, Slovenia on September 17, 2016. Photo credit: Jure Makovec, Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull will crush competitors’ confidence at 14 of these events across Europe, Asia, and North America. And over the summer, the first-ever Red Bull 400 World Championship will take place in Germany.

Red Bull 400 World Championship

On July 15, at the Hochfirstschanze ski jumping hill in Titisee-Neustadt, Germany, someone will walk, or most likely crawl, away with the world title. An individual women’s and men’s champ will be crowned, as will a 4×100 co-ed team.

red bull 400 racers uphill
Participants compete during the Red Bull 400 in Titisee-Neustadt, Germany on July 17,2016. Photo credit: Flo Hagena, Red Bull Content Pool

In all likelihood, Ahmet Arslan of Turkey will be the first official champion. In the seven years Red Bull 400 events have been putting runners through the wringer, Arslan has won 10 times, often participating in multiple events around Europe.

female competitor red bull 400
Competitor competes during the Red Bull 400 in Planica, Slovenia on September 17, 2016. Photo credit: Samo Vidic, Red Bull Content Pool

Last year, he won at Hochfirstschanze, scaling the massive slope in 3 minutes, 41.1 seconds. And at that same event, the ladies also brought top honors to Turkey, as Jasmin Can crushed a time of 4 minutes, 41 seconds — nearly a minute ahead of second place.

red bull 400 sprint
Ahmet Arslan at the Red Bull 400 in Almaty, Kazakhstan on May 1, 2016

The full list of events is below, but two events will come to North America. In Canada, the 400 comes to Whistler on August 8. And Park City, Utah, will host the event again on September 29.

Last year’s race in Park City was the highest elevation of any Red Bull 400 in the world, forcing racers to a lung-squeezing 6,870 feet — at the bottom of the hill!

Think you could be King or Queen of the hill? Sign up for a Red Bull 400 race or go straight to the inaugural World Championships.

2017 Red Bull 400 Events

  • May 14, Almaty, Kazakhstan
  • May 20, Erzurum, Turkey
  • May 21, Sapporro, Japan
  • May 27, Chaikovsky, Russia
  • June 3, Trondheim, Norway
  • June 10, Courchevel (FRA)
  • July 1, Predazzo, Italy
  • July 15, Titisee-Neustadt, Germany (World Championships)
  • August 8, Whistler, Canada
  • August 12, Harrachov, Czech Republic
  • August 26, Bischofshofen, Austria
  • September 16,  Planica, Slovenia
  • September 23,  Park City, Utah
  • October 28, Sochi, Russia

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Adam Ruggiero is an all-sport activity junkie - from biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming. If it's outside, it's worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.

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