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Have you tried: Red Bull Neptune Steps event?

Written by Fiona

March 11 2016

My Sunday Mail outdoors column on March 6 took a closer look at the Red Bull Neptune Steps open water swim event. It takes place in April at Maryhill Locks, Glasgow, for the second time. Although all 200 places are now filled, the race would be a great on to spectate at.


Red Bull Neptune Steps open water swim

What is it? Billed as the world’s only uphill swimming race, the Red Bull Neptune Steps returns to Glasgow next month (April).

Tell me more: Entries have opened for the second Red Bull Neptune Steps open water swimming race.

The endurance event, which takes place on April 9, will see 200 participants swimming “uphill” via 420 metres of canal water and eight lock gates.

The total height gain will be 18 metres and each lock will feature a different obstacle that the competitors will use to aid their progress.

Organisers will attach cargo nets, ropes, wooden and rope ladders and a climbing wall to the gates.

A spokesman for Red Bull Neptune Steps said: “We believe this is the toughest open-water swimming race in the UK and definitely the world’s only uphill swimming race.

“The combination of cold water, locks and obstacles will push participants to their limits in a true test of speed, strength, and resolve.”

The unusual race launched last year as the first fully supervised swimming event to take place in a Scottish canal.

There are 200 places open to people who had a background in adventure swimming, multi-event racing or military training.

Last year, Mark Deans, of Jordanhill, Glasgow, was crowned the Red Bull Neptune Steps champion.

He said: “Swimming in the canal was a unique experience and being five minutes from my front door made it a special event to take part in.”

This year, Irish triathlon star Con Doherty will be among the participants.

He said: “I’m delighted to be able to compete in this event although it looks ridiculously challenging.”

Steve Dunlop, chief Executive of Scottish Canals, is delighted to welcome Red Bull Neptune Steps back to Glasgow.

He said: “What could be a better way to celebrate the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design than by transforming a scheduled monument into the venue for a world-class, high-octane adventure race?”

Anything else to know: Participants wear wetsuits to combat the cold canal water.

The race is spilt into heats with 25 athletes taking part in each round.

The top 10 swimmers progress to the semi-finals before the final few battle it out in the final.


See for yourself: The event is free for spectators with 1500 people expected to turn up and lend their support.


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