August 12-14 is set to be an absolutely massive weekend of racing that will see round 2 of the Short Track series, an acrobatic airshow from Martin Sonka, winner of the Red Bull Air Race, and the crowning of the 2022 XTERRA European champion.
To say that it’s more than just a race would still be a massive understatement. As one of the oldest races in Europe, set in a town that dates back to the 13th century, XTERRA Czech is already an event dripping in culture and history.
Add to that an organising team that loves to party just as much as they love to race, and the fact that this year the event will double as the XTERRA European Championship, the result is a huge weekend for athletes and fans with action that starts when the sun comes up and doesn’t stop until long after it goes down.
And bringing it all together is the race venue itself.
Prachatice is a small town in the southern Bohemia region of Czech, characterised by its gothic architecture and surrounded by the winding trails of the Sumava National Park. And right in the epicentre of it all lies the historic centre of Prachatice, that for 2 days will be filled with XTERRA fans and festivities gathered around the coveted finish line of every race throughout the weekend.
And for many, the adventure may have already begun. Prachatice is only a 2-hour transfer from the Prague airport, making XTERRA Czech one of the most accessible races on the calendar, so expect a field stacked with talent and a track lined with friends, fans, and family ready to bring some noise.
XTERRA Czech has always been unique with its split transition and point-to-point bike course taking in the most spectacular and exciting trail network the region has to offer.
But with the usual swimming venue currently being dredged, the 2022 course will see a one-time-only change where the race will start at the Ktissky Lake for a 1500m swim before mountain biking a brand new race course back into town.
And fans of the previous course will certainly not be disappointed. The track features the same perfect mixture of fire road and singletrack weaving its way along the forests, hills and valleys for 33km before it re-joins the old course heading towards the second transition in town.
The run course is classic XTERRA Czech with a mix of urban streets, grassy meadows and tough technical forest trails.
For those pushing for that podium finish, there is a lot at stake across the weekend.
Firstly there is the prize purse, where €25,000 is up for grabs in the Championship race and €5,000 for the Short Track race, which will also mean being one step closer to the €20,000 Short Track series win bonus.
But to be eligible for a shot at the Short Track prize money, athletes will need to put in a good performance the day before as qualification for the Short Track race is based on the top ranking elite finishers of the Championship race.
But it’s not only money that is at stake. Many athletes will have their eye on the 51 slots available for the 2022 XTERRA World Championship. And as the first ever European-hosted World Championship, you can be sure the already competitive European field will be pushing harder than ever.
The 2022 XTERRA European Championship event takes place from 12-14 August, with races and festivities planned throughout.
Friday kicks off with the Kids Duathlon where the future talent of XTERRA will take centre stage as they complete all the twists and turns of the various age-appropriate courses before crossing the same XTERRA finish line as their heroes in the middle of Prachatice.
Following the Kids Duathlon, a 5km trail run will be held to honour the legendary Tomas ‘Herbi’ Prochazka who was tragically killed in 2018 while serving in Afghanistan. There is no entry fee, but donations towards supporting the Czech Army Veterans fund will gladly be accepted as the community remembers Herbi.
Saturday kicks up a number of gears with the Sprint Triathlon getting the day started before the Full-Distance race decides who is crowned the 2022 XTERRA European Champion. Arthur Serrieres of France and Loanne Duvoisin of Switzerland were the first to cross the line in 2021, but with the strength of the current European field, anything is possible come Saturday.
And as if that wasn’t enough, Sunday will treat everybody in attendance, and the thousands more tuning in via live stream, to round 2 of the XTERRA Short track series. After a massive start in Xonrupt, round 2 is sure to deliver fireworks with the women's race streaming live at 09:00 CEST, an acrobatic airshow from Martin Sonka at 10:00, and the men’s race at 11:00. If you’re not up to speed with this explosive series, get everything you need to know about the series here and a the complete breakdown for round 2 here.
Alongside the racing, there will also be music, food, and two nights of live entertainment right on the finish line, so expect hundreds if not thousands of people to visit the town over the race weekend.
If you’re in the area, check the European Championship event page for the entire schedule of events across the weekend.
But for those unable to make it, follow XTERRA Europe for live updates via Instagram stories or sign up here to watch the round 2 of the XTERRA Short Track series live (and free) from Czech, Prachatice.
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