Mud, mud, glorious mud...
By Ted JeoryTHEY say too much of the town's famous sea salts can be bad for your health, but if that is the case, what about the Maldon mud?Certainly the 180 people who crawled their way round the gruelling Maldon Mud Race yesterday might agree.
By Ted Jeory
THEY say too much of the town's famous sea salts can be bad for your health, but if that is the case, what about the Maldon mud?
Certainly the 180 people who crawled their way round the gruelling Maldon Mud Race yesterday might agree.
It is said that two laps of the 400-yard course across the Blackwater estuary and into Promenade Park takes as much effort a complete marathon – and one wag watching yesterday suggested that Paula Radcliffe should try her hand finishing it.
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The Lions and Rotary Club of Maldon-organised event has been running since 1973, when locals dared a man to serve a full meal while dressed in a tuxedo on the saltings on the opposite side of the River Blackwater.
After the challenge was successfully completed, the next year a temporary bar on the saltings was opened with regulars having to make a dash across the mud to reach it.
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Now the traditional race, which raises thousands for charity, receives global media coverage.
Watched yesterday by about 6,000 spectators, the 180 competitors – who were required to tape their trainers to their feet to prevent losing them in the mud – set off under clear blue skies on a crisp New Year's morning.
Sprints soon turned to scrambles through the mud with most resorting to crawling on all fours to make their way round and one person had to be pulled to safety through sheer exhaustion.
First home in a time of 3½ minutes was Martin Weston, 38, from Hampshire, followed by his 18-year-old nephew Richard Weston, from Levington, near Ipswich, who said: "This was my third year and definitely the toughest. You don't feel the cold when you're doing it, but my chest was really tight after."
Martin Weston, brother of Felixstowe solicitor John Weston, said: "Our whole family is quite sporty so we all decided to do it. Although I won, I had to honour a promise to go back and pull my wife Kathy from the mud, which was the last thing I needed."
Maldon Rotary Club member Brian Olley said the final amount raised from the event would not be known until February, but he added about £2,300 had been collected for the Asian tsunami relief effort.