Sport & Leisure

The UK’s toughest open water swimming challenge returns to city’s Maryhill Locks

By Ian Marland at

If you are looking for the ultimate challenge in the new year, then think Red Bull Neptune Steps.

The UK’s toughest open water swimming challenge returns to Maryhill Locks this spring.

With the first round of entries selling out in less than a day, a second wave of tickets has been released by Red Bull.

Neptune Steps

The first round of entries selling out in less than a day. Photo: courtesy of Red Bull

From 21 to 22 March 2020 more than 1,000 hardy souls will enter the icy-cold waters of the Forth and Clyde Canal and make their way through the 420m course, including clambering over seven canal lock gates using ropes and ladders.

While the challenge has typically been dominated by endurance athletes and experienced open-water swimmers, this year’s event will include a pairs relay competition.

Same sex or mixed pairs can now tackle the course together, meaning competitors only need to complete half of the grueling course which includes a 420m swim and 10.5-meter obstacle climb.

‘Waves’

The event will start with 1,000 competitors, competing in waves across two days, and featuring separate male, female and pairs competitions.

The highest placed swimmers from each round move onto the semi-finals and eventually the final.

Each canal gate features a different obstacle, which the swimmers use to climb up – including cargo net, ropes, wood ladder, rope ladders and a climbing wall.

Last year, Welsh swimmer Dan Jones retained his title with a record time of 6m 5s while a new champion was crowned in the women’s race, with Erin Jeffrey claiming first place in 7m 5s.

Swimmers

Mens and women winners Erin Jeffrey and Dan Jones Participants perform at Red Bull Neptune Steps in Glasgow last year. Photo: Jeff holmes/ Red Bull Content Pool / AP.

If your new year’s resolution is to get active or to try something new, this could be the event for you.

Registration for Red Bull Neptune Steps is now open and available at https://www.redbull.com/gb-en/events/red-bull-neptune-steps-uk, along with training hints and tips.

The race is open to men and women aged 16 and over.

Entrants can compete individually and in pairs.

Red Bull Neptune Steps is held with the support of Scottish Canals.

See ScottishCanals.co.uk or follow @ScottishCanals for more information.