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'Insanely steep' downhill running race adds an uphill twist

descent race
A frantic downhill running race now calls for runners to head uphill, too (Image credit: Michael_Werlberge)

An "insanely steep" downhill running race that takes place on a ski slope will now feature a gruelling uphill twist.

The inov-8 Descent Race is held on the legendary Streif, which is regarded as the toughest slope on the world cup ski circuit. It could also be classed as one of the world's weirdest running races.

The slope in Kitzbühel, Austria, descends at a crazy gradient of 80% and for the last three years runners have competed in October to be the fastest from top to bottom.

This year, an addition to the downhill format, the running race will be run in teams of two, with one runner going down the hill, before a team-mate goes back up it.

Times recorded by the downhill runners will be placed on to a leaderboard and these will determine when their team-mates set off. The more seconds the downhill runner can gain, the greater advantage they will give their team-mates, ahead of what is set to be a frantic scramble back up to the finish line.

descent race

The inov-8 Descent race calls for courage and sure-footed running (Image credit: Andy Aufschnaiter)

Downs and ups of tough Descent running race 

The course for the newly named inov-8 Descent Race+ on October 2 will be a total of 700m in total distance (350m down and 350m back up) and follow a slalom style route marked by ski flags.

inov-8 COO Michael Price said: "To tame the Hahnenkamm, runners going downhill or uphill will need total commitment and lots of underfoot traction."

The brand sells the world's first "graphene-enhanced' running shoes, such as the Mudclaw G 260 V2. 

Entries to inov-8 Descent Race+ open today.

Fiona Russell

Fiona Russell is a widely published adventure journalist and blogger, who is better known as Fiona Outdoors. She is based in Scotland and is an all-round outdoors enthusiast with favourite activities including trail running, mountain walking, mountain biking, road cycling, triathlon and skiing, both downhill and back country. Her target for 2021 is to finish the final nine summits in her first round of all 282 Munros, the Scottish mountains of more than 3,000ft high. Aside from being outdoors, Fiona's biggest aim is to inspire others to enjoy the great outdoors, especially through her writing. She is also rarely seen without a running skort! Find out more at Fiona Outdoors.