Gallery: Mud for it! Mucky race pulls crowds

THOUSANDS went mad for the mud of Maldon yesterday in a madcap charity event.

James Hore

THOUSANDS went mad for the mud of Maldon yesterday in a madcap charity event.

More than 10,000 spectators and 230 competitors braved the freezing Essex weather for the “Mad” Maldon Mud Race.

Labelled as the “best hangover cure known”, the event sees competitors run, stumble, walk and crawl on their hands and knees around the course on the banks of the River Blackwater.

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This year organisers allowed an extra 50 entrants to take part in the challenge, which is now gaining national recognition.

The town's Promenade Park was busier than ever as the crowds gathered for the off at 11.30am.

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Young and old in crazy costumes charged into the near-freezing temperatures of the river and up on to the thick mud.

Fancy dress was imaginative with policemen and pirates, fairies and footballers all taking part.

Most were soon on their hands and knees, with many struggling to make any headway in the gloop.

But one who had no real problems was this year's winner, Stuart Putt from Boreham.

The exhausted 36-year-old said: “I am knackered. It was tough out there.

“I am a runner anyway, but this was hard. The first bit was the toughest as you go through the water and up the other side.”

Vicki Sharman, 23, from West Hanningfield, near Chelmsford, was the first woman to complete the course.

Speaking at the finish, she said: “That was hard. It is the first time I have done it.

“I thought maybe I would come in the first half of people, but did not think I would come first.

“It was freezing out there and was hard work - I don't know if I would do it again, the mud got deep and I just had to crawl.”

The dubious honour of last place went to Kim White from Chelmsford.

The 53-year-old was rewarded for her sterling efforts with a massive cheer from the crowd.

One person found the challenge was just too much and had to be helped from the course by a martial with the aid of a rope.

As competitors crossed the line they were wrapped in foil blankets to restore some warmth before washing off the Blackwater mud in the waiting showers.

This year's event was raising money for Essex Air Ambulance, Marie Curie Cancer Care, The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and Little Havens Children's Hospice.

The Maldon Mud race is organised by the town's rotary and lions clubs.

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