Thousands go mad for the mud
MORE than 10,000 spectators and 230 foolhardy competitors braved the freezing Essex weather this morning for what has been branded the best hangover cure known.
MUD, glorious mud and lots of it.
More than 10,000 spectators and 230 foolhardy competitors braved the freezing Essex weather this morning for what has been branded the best hangover cure known.
The “Mad” Maldon Mud Race 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 competitors to take part in the challenge that is now getting 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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Last year's race got off to a false start when entrants mistakenly began running when they heard a “three, two, one” chant for a Mexican wave from the crowd.
But there were no problems this year as the men and women in crazy costumes charged into the near-freezing temperatures of the river and up onto the thick mud.
Fancydress was imaginative with policemen and pirates, fairies and footballers all there.
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 line, 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 finishing last went to Kim White from Chelmsford.
The 53-year-old was rewarded for her sterling efforts with a massive cheer from the crowd.
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.