THREE hundred open water swimmers took part in the third, annual Red Bull Neptune Steps challenge at Maryhill on the Forth & Clyde Canal on Saturday 18 March.
Mark Deans pulled off a hat trick by taking the men’s title, on a cold and blustery Saturday, in just 5 minutes 48 seconds, with 25-year-old Jennifer Davis coming in first in the female competition at 7minutes 18 seconds.
Twenty-two-year-old Leeds triathlete, Gordon Benson, who went on to finish in eighth place, revealed beforehand that the event was his first swim in a British Canal.
“This is a first for me,” he smiled after looking over the course which tests competitors to the limit with swimming and climbing over four lock gates and climbing walls, using scrambling nets. “I did, once, swim in a Portuguese canal, as part of a triathlon, but it was a lot warmer!”
Glasgow’s Mark Deans, also 22, confessed that cold was the biggest challenge. “Despite wearing a professional suit, when you dive in, the cold really shocks. It’s like having a headache when you eat ice cream too quickly, but much worse! But, I’m out to win again.”
Red Bull said that they are delighted with the progress of the event which draws over 1,000 spectators annually, and puts the canal on the map.
A spokesman for Scottish Canals said: “We’re delighted to work with Red Bull and the athletes to stage this prestigious event which attracts spectators from the local community and from further away.”