It might not be a running event but we thought this unique challenge worth a mention, as it seems to get more and more popular each year. Red Bull sponsor some really quirky races, including Wings for Life and Red Bull Quicksand, and Red Bull Neptune Steps is certainly in the same vein!
The Maryhill Locks will once again be the setting for the UK’s toughest open water swimming challenge, as Red Bull Neptune Steps return to Glasgow with exciting new elements.
To accommodate growing demand, the 2020 event will be the biggest ever held in the city, as it expands to a second day, doubling the number of participants from 2019.
From 21 to 22 March 2020, more than 1,000 hardy souls will have the chance to enter icy-cold waters of the Forth and Clyde Canal and battle through the course, which includes seven lock gates, each with its own obstacle for the competitors to negotiate.
While the challenge has typically been dominated by endurance athletes and experienced open-water swimmers, Red Bull Neptune Steps 2020 will include a more accessible pairs relay competition. Same sex or mixed pairs can now tackle the course together, meaning competitors only need to complete half of the gruelling course which includes a 420m swim and 10.5-meter obstacle climb.
Since the event first came to Glasgow more than 2000 athletes have taken on the challenge. The 2019 event sold out in less than a day, so budding athletes are encouraged to register interest quick when early bird tickets are released on 14 November.
Erin Jeffery, triathlete and executive assistant at The Outdoor Swimming Society, was the winner of the 2019 women’s race with a time of 7m 5s.
She said: “I didn’t really know what to expect going into the challenge. I was concerned about how cold the water was but once I was in, I loved every second!
“It’s a tough event that tests a range of skills, but I was able to push myself harder than I thought thanks to the cheering crowd and brilliant atmosphere of the event.
“Giving participants the chance to compete in a pair opens up the competition to those who may not have the confidence or the experience to enter individually. Being part of a team is hugely motivating and is a great way to get involved. I’m sure many will be back again in the future to race on their own after their Red Bull Neptune Steps introduction!
“It’s a race, so of course the competitive element is important, but results aside, it’s a huge achievement to finish. I would absolutely encourage anyone who is considering their next challenge to take on Red Bull Neptune Steps, it’s a unique event and a great day for spectators and participants!”
Red Bull Neptune Steps will take place on March 21st (men’s heats) and 22nd (women’s and pairs heats) 2020 at Maryhill Locks in Glasgow.
The race is open to men and women aged 16+. Entrants can compete individually as well as in pairs.
Entrants can sign-up from Thursday 14th November at redbull.co.uk/neptunesteps
Early-bird entries (Nov 14 – Dec 31):
Under-25 men and women: £35
Over-25 men and women: £45
Pairs: £40 per pair
Full-price entries (from Jan 1):
Under-25 men and women: £45
Over-25 men and women: £55
Pairs: £50 per pair