Back to the roots: Austria eXtreme Triathlon

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Austria eXtreme Triathlon is one of the hardest triathlons in the world – imagine 3.8km of swimming, 186km of cycling and 44km of running with elevation of 5 800m. This extreme load of physical endurance will take place on 27th June for the first time. Austrian mountains are looking forward to meeting 50 brave ‚tri-warriors‘ from 19 countries who will dare to face everything that it brings. „New generation of winners“ is not only the motto of the race – it embraces also ideology and beliefs of organisers and we hope, that it will bring some fresh air into triathlon racing worldwide.

The race is still waiting for its first start in the cold waters of Alpine river Mur, but those lucky, who were chosen from 211 applicants to participate, show that it is already legendary. The photos speak for themselves:

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Maybe some of you have already contemplated the thought of organising a race. Some of you have maybe already tried it. But still, there are plenty of those who are just curious how such a race is created and what are its reasons.

We are very glad, that Hugo Schwarz, organiser of Austria eXtreme Triathlon decided to share his inspiration for creating this race, because its origins are really extraordinary.


How did you come up with the idea of organizing the first Austria eXtreme Triathlon, with your job as an independent insurance agent?

My brother and I applied for the Swissman. When our first application was refused I told my brother: “Let’s try another time and if it doesn’t work again, we will do our own eXtreme triathlon in Austria”. I guess this was the hour of birth for the Austria eXtreme Triathlon, as also our second application was refused. And so the phantasy became reality. My whole family was excited from the very beginning to organize an eXtreme triathlon for me and my brother, and so the thought came up soon: “Why should we make all these efforts just for the two of us?”
Thus we produced an image video and put it on YouTube. The first response was huge. We would never have thought that this idea will be so successful. Also our homepage gets more than 5.000 visits per month.

Who is helping you to organize this big event?

The most responsible person is my wife – she is also the first female president of an eXtreme triathlon association. Additionally, my daughter Kathrin and her boyfriend Patrick are strongly involved. Everybody has his or her own field of activity and so we are a really diversified team which also proves, that intergenerational cooperation can work very well.

Since when do you practice this kind of sport?

I have been running since 1998. Since then I have already taken part in marathons in Berlin, Rome, Florence, Graz, Vienna and in Wachau and many other shorter distances. In 2006 I stopped smoking with the motivation to do an Ironman. Firstly I attended one in Swiss, then in Carinthia and in Roth.

What’s the biggest challenge for you as an organizer – from an organizational but also from a sportive perspective?

From the sportive point of view, the Austria eXtreme Triathlon is for sure one of the toughest in the world. And in the role as an organizer I get to know “the other side”, how much time and effort an event of this size really requires. Very exciting is also the communication with and between the 19 participating nations.

How did you find the right route for the contest?

We spent a lot of free time to find the right route. The route had to fulfill certain preconditions: demanding but also safe enough. On top of all, we tried to integrate as many landscape-highlights of Austria as possible.

What would you wish Austria eXtreme Triathlon?

An accident free and exciting race with a lot of positive feedback. Most of all I hope that our fundamental mind-set of “not alone, but all together we are strong” will be THE spirit of the event.

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