“The last paradise on earth” was the comment from people who visited the Kanas region. The stunning nature has left a great impression on all visitors. But there is much more they can’t see on a tourist bus: places that only runners on an organized race can reach.
Kanas is part of the Altay region in Xinjiang province, China. Altay sits tucked in the north-west corner of China, jutting up into three borders with Kazakhstan, Russia, and Mongolia. It is barely 50 km away from all three countries.
Every June, water from the snow mountain flows down into the vast Kanas lake, reflecting a nice pure green color. All the flowers wake up at the sounds of spring, dressing the mountains in an abundance of colors.
The thrill of racing in Kanas is amplified by the area’s population of nomadic Kazakhs (as well as Uyghurs, Tuvans, and a variety of other ethnic groups who share similar nomadic characteristics) who pack up their yurts in the summer onto the backs of horses and camels and move from the more southern areas close to the desert up to the northern mountain slopes for new grazing pastures. Word has it there is a specific time period for the northern migration, which coincided last year with the race. Athletes met nomads in a narrow mountain pass, to confusing and marvelous results.
XTRAIL first set foot on this beautiful and mysterious region in 2016, organizing the 1st ever adventure race in Asia. Adventure Racing World Series (ARWS) is by far the toughest race in the world. ARWS is the ultimate race of endurance. Teams of four athletes race non stop, day and night, through courses up to 800 km in length. Each course is a unique journey, including legs of mountain biking, trail running, kayaking, white water rafting and rope work. Teams must navigate using maps and compass through remote wilderness checkpoints.
2017 ARWS Altay race participant Liza Pye reminisced about the final checkpoint – on a huge alpine plateau, with riders and horses decorating the landscape. “It’s so beautiful here.”
When we asked what the best moment of the whole experience was, the participants glowed. “Well, you know, EVERYTHING!” Said Emily Thompson. “I mean it was just so fun! We saw crazy camels and people riding – we saw a camel with a yurt packed up on the back!” Max Messenger noted how helpful everyone was: “they all smiled at us, offered us things – one guy gave us snacks and cigarettes from his truck and offered us a lift.” (no word on whether they accepted the cigarettes.)
However, the 3rd ARWS Altay race experienced some unfortunate setback in 2018. At the request of the local government, the race was stopped. We were devastated that after 12 months of planning, and literally being on the start line, we had to notify foreign teams they wouldn’t be racing. All participants were later reimbursed by us for their travel expense.
After 2 years of communication with the local government, we are happy to open the trail race registration to foreign passport holders again. Yes. There will be some checks after you submit your personal information. But once passed, you are guaranteed to participate. We have a rolling schedule to release the results at the end of each month.
Please note that the 2020 XTRAIL Ultra Trail Kanas is a foot race and does not include biking or kayaking as seen in the ARWS Altay race. But a lot of the areas that the course pass by are identical.
Based on the knowledge and experience of organizing races in the region for the past four years, we have chosen some of the most beautiful and untouched areas for the 2020 Xtrail Ultra Trail Kanas. You will experience all 6 landscapes at this one single race.
Mark July 6th 2020 on your calendar for the 2020 XTRAIL Ultra Trail Kanas. Apart from the usual 330km, 155km and 100km categories that were run for the past 3 years, we also added the shorter 55 km in order for more people to experience this part of China.
Participants of the 330km and 155km categories will be able to experience all six landscapes while the 55km and 100km run through everything except the rocky gobi and sand dunes.
Lake and River
This is possibly the only chance in China to experience all these landscapes in one single race.
Date and Place
Race Start Day: June 6th 2020
Location: Altay region, Kanas
This is ITRA certified race.
Please refer to each category for its ITRA credit.
Please follow our official XTRAIL wechat account
and reply “Kanas gpx”
to get the GPX file for each category.
330km Team Race
ITRA credit estimate：6
You need a team of two persons to sign up for the 330km. The 330km is a self- navigation race. We have a suggested course but you don’t have to follow it. Please read on for more info.
155km Individual Race
ITRA Credit estimate：5
100km Individual Race
ITRA Credit estimate：5
55km Individual Race
ITRA Credit estimate：2
All runners must be over 18 years old by the time of the race start day.
·Former experience of completing at least one 100km+ trail running race within 1 year preceding registration and provide related proof documents
·At least one of the two team members should have experience using GPS device.
Former experience of completing at least one 100km+ trail running race within 2 year preceding registration and submit related proof documents
Former experience of completing at least two full marathon or one 100km+ trail running race within 2 year preceding registration and submit related proof documents
Former experience of completing at least one half marathon or 21km+ trail running race within 2 year preceding registration and submit related proof documents
All runners must be healthy, free of heart disease, high blood pressure or any other conditions which might interfere with the race. The race committee reserves the right to stop runners with medical conditions from participating the race.
A valid Chinese ID card or passport.
All participants must agree to the terms and conditions of the race at registration.
1、330km Team Race
Please note this is a self-navigation race. There won’t be any compulsory rest time. You will need to use the GPS device of your choice to navigate the whole course. The cumulative ascent is over 10,000m. Cut off time is 120 hours.
During the race, the two team members should not be over 100m apart from each other. If one runner quits the race, the other runner will also be disqualified.
You need to provide your own supplies. We will collect them and bring them to the different checkpoints. We won’t provide additional supplies other than those you give us beforehand.
2、155 km Individual Race
There will be road signs on the trail leading the direction. The whole course has a cumulative ascent of 5000m. Cut-off time is 48 hours.
3、100 km Individual Race
There will be road signs on the trail leading the direction. The whole course has a cumulative ascent of 3809m. Cut-off time is 24 hours.
4、55 km Individual Race
There will be road signs on the trail leading the direction. The whole course has a cumulative ascent of over 1000m. Cut-off time is 12 hours.
Please present passport and all mandatory gears at bib collection on June 5th. All participants must submit RMB 500 deposit in cash or Alipay in exchange for the timing chip. The deposit will be returned after the race.
1.Those labeled in red are provided
You must carry all mandatory gears during the entire race. The organizing committee reserves the right to check mandatory gears during the race. Violation of gears will be disqualified.
2. What should be included in the first aid kit?
If you cannot find the medicine listed in the first aid kit, you should replace with similar medicine for the same symptoms. At least one day’s dosage is required in the first aid kit.
3. Recommended Gear
Race bib must be attached firmly to the outside layer of your clothes or bag, and kept visible during the entire race.
Covering race bib, or any change of the bib will result in disqualification.
Please write down your personal information and emergency contact on the back of your bib.
2.What’s included in the registration fee：
Entry ticket into the Kanas Geopark, Accident Insurance, Race Bag, hot meals and drinks provided at checkpoints, medical service. It doesn’t include the transportation or accommodation during the race.
Registration deadline： Apr 20th 2020
Early bird price deadline：Feb 28th 2020
After you submit all the personal info and race experience, we’ll notify you via email whether you can participate in the race at the end of each month. If you sign up later than 15th of the month, you’ll get the results via email at the end of next month.
Please note that for all the foreign passport holders, we’ll send you an email at the end of each month notifying whether you can participate in the race. Please do not book any flights before you’ve received the approval email.
More on the 330 km race
1、It’s all about teamwork. If one person quits, the whole team is disqualified. The two teammates cannot be more than 100m apart at any point of the race. So we highly suggest you choose your teammate wisely.
2、The team cannot get any assistance from third parties.
3. Part of the 330km suggested course is the same as the 155km course and therefore have road signs. It’s up to the team to decide whether to follow the road signs. As long as you pass all the checkpoints and get to the finish, it doesn’t matter which course you take.
4、We suggest a 35L+ backpack. The weather in Xinjiang changes very fast. There is a big temperature difference during day and night. We suggest be prepared with sleeping bags, tents, warm jackets.
5、You need to bring your own supplies.
Participants of the 330km need to plan and bring their own supplies for the entire race. We will hand out boxes for each checkpoint and it’s the participant’s responsibilities to make sure they put enough supplies to the boxes. Boxes will then be transferred to the checkpoints. Participants are allowed to carry cash and buy supplies from stores/villager.
Below is the packing list of team Columbia during the 2017 330 km race. If you have never been to a 330km race, you are encouraged to take it as a starting point. We suggest you purchase most supplies from your home city. There is not much to choose in Kanas and it’s likely to be more expensive.
Naan, crackers, nuts, dried beef, Jelly, Coke, fruit, salt pill, effervescent tablets, energy gels,
Shoes, Warm Clothes, socks, power bank, batteries, tape, mosquito repellent.
About the weather
During June, temperature in Kanas ranges from 15°C to 25 °C. We suggest one to two layers during the day and add a warm jacket during the night. Temperature will be lower if it rains.
Please do not book your tickets before you receive the email from us notifying you have met all requirements and can partake in the race.
There are two airports nearby. The closer one is the Kanas airport (KJI), from which costs 2 hours for the transfer to the race hotel.
The other airport is located 6 hours drive from the race hotel and is called “Altay (AAT)”.Please make sure you book a flight that lands before 15:40 at AAT to ensure timely transfer to the race hotel on June 5th. The registration fee does not cover transfer from airports or accommodation. Look out for a separate article on accommodation and airport bus transfer later in Dec 2019.
Refund and Transfer Policy
■ Refund Policy
·70% of the registration fee could be refunded if apply within 60 days before the race
·30% of the registration fee could be refunded if apply within 30 days before the race
·The registration fee is non-refundable after May 6th, 2020.
To apply for a refund, please email Xtrail with your name and reason for refund.
No transfer is allowed after May 6th 2020. The committee must have received your email apply for transfer on or before May 6th,2020.
The request of transfer is only permitted when you can find the person who is qualified to take over your entry.
We charge RMB 100 to process all transfers.
Transfer will be processed within 7 days.
Transfer without authorization from organizer will be disqualified.
Offical Wechat Account：XTRAIL、XTRAIL_DY
Office Hours：Mon - Fri 10:00-18:00
Add：Room 705, Jiankang Zhigu Building, No. 35 Huayuanbei Road. Beijing.