Hundreds descend on Maldon for annual mud race through Essex village
Hundreds descend on Maldon for annual mud race through Essex village which sees participants covered in dirt as they compete for glory
- Daring competitors from as far away as Australia flocked to the River Blackwater
Hundreds of mud mad runners from across the globe made their way to the Essex shores today to take part in the Maldon Mud Race.
Daring competitors from as far afield as Australia and Japan flocked to the banks of the River Blackwater to get stuck in with the charity event.
The race consists of a 500 metre dash over the thick mud of the river bed, with racers often sinking right up to their waists.
The famously dirty dash dates back to 1973, and grew out of a bet made at a local pub, when a regular was challenged to serve a meal on the riverbank dressed in a dinner jacket.
The challenge evolved into a race across the river to a waiting barrel of beer, where racers drank a pint of beer before slipping and sliding back to the other side.
Runners donning colourful wigs made their way across the flats of the River Blackwater today
One racer, dressed as Super Mario, was seen crawling up the river bank
Hundreds of mud mad runners from across the globe made their way to the Essex shores today
Crowds lined the quayside to support their loved ones in the race today
The river is crossed by runners at low tide, seeing them wade through shallow waters
The mud was too much for some, who were seen trying to clamber out of it
Now a charity event, the beer barrel was taken away and runners raise tens of thousands every year for good causes.
Last year, a staggering 20,000 people attended the event, according to organisers.
Around 300 fundraising racers take part, with £35,000 distributed last year.
Crowds lined the quayside on Sunday to support their loved ones, many of whom donned fancy dress, as they competed in the hot sun today.
Among the crowds TV comedian Jo Brand, who cheered on her daughter as she took part and revealed she herself had competed in the past.
‘You just sink into it,’ Ms Brand told ITV East Anglia.
Runners become drenched in mud as they clamber over the drained river bed
One competitor looked like she had a mud mask after making her way through the river
Runners dressed as Where’s Wally crawled across the plains of the River Blackwater
Mud mad runners take up the challenge as they are seen dashing across the river
One racer opted for a wig and a tutu for their running gear, which could hardly be seen under the thick mud
A band of pirates looked at home in the murky depths as they made their way across the river
‘So after about 15 yards I sunk into it, got lassooed by a bloke in waders, then fell over, splat all of me in the mud then thought I’m not going to make it round so I cheated!’
Leigh Hemmings, the race director, said: ‘We get people travel all over the world and camera crews from Germany, China, from Japan so it’s great fun’.
The winner of today’s race completed it in just under 4 minutes.
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