For the past 3 years dryrobe have had the privilege to be involved in one of the most challenging and unique open-water swimming events out there - Red Bull Neptune Steps. This is an adventure race that challenges athletes like no other - pitting them against 420 metres of cold water, forcing them to climb 18 metres over 7 canal lock gates and pushing participants to their limits. This year’s event was no different, with over 320 competitors hitting the water on a rainy Saturday in Glasgow - and dryrobe was on hand to witness this intense challenge.
Mark Deans (Instagram @markodeans) - Undefeated RedBull Neptune Steps Champion
dryrobe ambassador and big wave surfer Andrew Cotton was one of the brave swimmers taking on the Neptune Steps this year and he told us it was one of the hardest challenges he has faced yet - and this is from a man who takes on the world's biggest waves! “The cold was a good 7 out of 10 - the swimming and the climbing was definitely the hard part - next level hard. It was definitely dryrobe territory!”
We also caught up with Nicolas Dewalque - a truly inspiring athlete who conquered the Neptune Steps this year. Nicolas is a visually impaired triathlete who takes on some seriously extreme challenges, with the Neptune Steps being no exception. After completing the course, Nicolas and his guide Sarah gave us their rating for the event:
Sarah: “It was at least an 8.5/10 for difficulty - but over a 10/10 for fun!”
Nicholas: “It was definitely hard, but it was a lot of fun. It’s easier to say it’s a lot of fun once you’ve finished though! We definitely enjoyed it very much!”
Nicolas Dewalque - Visually impaired Triathlete & dryrobe sponsored athlete & guide Sarah
The event itself had a real festival feel to it, with crowds of spectators lining the canal through the entire day, cheering the swimmers the whole way up the course. It almost became a race against the swimmers as the crowd moved up the canal to keep up with the competitors - they weren’t hanging around! There were some seriously nail-biting races through the day, as the top swimmers from heats progressed through to semi-finals and then the finals, which saw the biggest crowds of the day encouraging the athletes on - almost willing them up the obstacles with their cheering.
The finals themselves were intense, incredibly fast races up the canal - in the Men’s division it was local Glaswegian swimmer Mark Deans who topped the podium, for the third year in a row. His winning streak just keeps on going. Andrew Horsfall-Turner came in second and Marc Austin took third. The women's final was equally as incredible to watch - 25-year-old Jennifer Davis took the crown, with Lilyella Craw-Seamen coming in second and Fiona Gibson in third. The swimmers took to the podium to celebrate their achievements - and having claimed their coveted Neptune Steps dryrobe!
Left to right - Andrew Horsfall-Turner, Mark Deans, Marc Austin, Lilyella Craw-Seamen, Jennifer Davis & Fiona Gibson
Red Bull Neptune Steps truly is one of the most unique and awe-inspiring events out there, every single swimmer who completed the gruelling course can certainly be immensely proud of their achievement. We are very proud to have been a part of this event and we are already looking forward to next year - see you there.
To see more images from the event click here.
Photo Credits: Pete Hill & Red Bull Content Pool