SAFA Skysailor Magazine

12 SKY SAILOR September | October 2023 Australian paragliding pilot Rich Binstead was the only Aussie athlete, and just the fourth in the history of the event, to compete in the world’s toughest adventure race in The European Alps earlier this year. Rich lasted 11 out of 12 days and travelled 1365km using just his legs and his paraglider. He managed to paraglide 943.68km, and hike 421km with over a total of 27,200m of ele- vation. While he was one day short of finishing the competition this time round, this was a gallant effort for a first-time competitor. Rich told SAFA that his best moment was on day seven when he “ticked the Fiesch turnpoint, flew to Frutigen, soared up from the low launch, top-landed near the Niesen summit, and then flew south towards Mont Blanc.” He said he didn’t do much wrong that day and pulled away from the people behind him. “I’d love to have another go next time and make fewer mistakes. I feel like I have unfinished business,” he added. Unfortunately, he suffered an allergic reaction on day two, which saw him lose six valuable hours, and subsequently contact with the lead gaggles. Rich described the weather conditions as challenging but manageable. The Red Bull X-Alps is a gruelling bi-annual challenge, and this year it saw 32 of the best hike & fly athletes travel thousands of kilometres through five European countries. Rich Binstead’s Red Bull X-Alps challenge