All good clean fun! Hundreds of contestants get down and dirty as they battle low tide black slime in Essex mud race
- Competitors caked in sludge ran, crawled and slithered their way across the River Blackwater in Maldon
- Batman suits, bright green wigs and fairy dresses were among the bizarre garments worn by the competitors
- One brave who thought that clothes would slow him down stripped completely off for the 400-metre dash
It’s probably the only sporting event in the world where participants are encouraged to play dirty.
And this year’s notorious Maldon Mud Race lived up to its name as hundreds of contestants caked in sludge ran, crawled and slithered their way across the bed of the River Blackwater in Essex.
Batman suits, bright green wigs and fairy dresses were among the bizarre garments worn by the competitors as they hauled themselves through the 400-metre mud course.
And one brave man – who clearly thought that clothes would slow him down – stripped completely off and charged through the slime.
The event dates back to 1973 when a local dared the landlord of the Queens Head pub to serve a meal on the saltings of the river wearing a dinner jacket.
The plucky landlord accepted and about twenty people dashed across the river bed at low tide, gulping a pint of beer before stumbling back to the shore.
Some 46 years later, and the Maldon Mud Race attracts contestants and spectators from all over the world and raises thousands of pounds for charity.
Joel Hicks stripped completely off for the 2019 Maldon Mud Race. The event was originally held at the end of December but extremely cold weather in 2010 caused it to be postponed until the following spring, which luckily for the naked competitor, meant he was not completely frozen
Hundreds of contestants caked in sludge ran, crawled and slithered their way across the bed of the River Blackwater in Essex. Getting across the river without a boat can only be done at low tide which exposes the black slime which forms the river bed. Many competitors couldn’t manage to sprint the 400-metre dash and so opted for other methods, such as hauling themselves through on the belly
Many competitors seek sponsorship for the event and the Maldon Mud Race has a long history of raising money for charity. Chairman of The Maldon Mud Race, Brian Farrington, said: ‘Last year saw nearly 20,000 people attend the event so we are hoping to raise even more money for the charities’ Last year it raised over £35,000
The race takes place in the town of Maldon which sits on Blackwater estuary in Essex. It is a well known producer of sea salt and the busy harbour is home to many yachts and motorboats, especially in the summer months when the boats are put back into the water for the warmer weather
Pig ears, bright green wigs and fairy dresses were among the bizarre garments worn by the competitors as they hauled themselves through the 400-metre mud course. Although the pack had to trudge through mud during the entirety of the course, in the middle of the river there was still some water left providing the perfect opportunity for a wash
The event dates back to 1973 when a local dared the landlord of the Queens Head pub to serve a meal on the saltings of the river wearing a dinner jacket. The plucky landlord accepted and about twenty people dashed across the river bed at low tide, knocked back a pint of beer before stumbling back to the shore. Some 46 years later, and the Maldon Mud Race attracts contestants and spectators from all over the world and raises thousands of pounds for charity
One man dressed as a Roman centurion warrior battles through the slime drenched from helmet to toe in mud. In his right hand he wields a stick picked up from the river bed to support his brutal trudge through the gunk which is shin-deep
A defiant woman heaves herself through the slime, determined to stay on her feet even though many of her fellow participants have been brought to their knees and are crawling because walking is too much of a struggle. Her hair is sopping wet with mud and her face caked in sludge, but she soldiers on
These two women both look rather clean after opting for the crawling method of trekking across the river. This means that there is less chance of them tripping over and smacking their face in the mud. The woman on the left has managed to keep the top of her frilly outfit mud-free and the woman on the left is all smiles as she eyes up the finish line
Making a beeline for the finish: Batman and Bee-woman plod through the shallows in the centre of the river with mud splattered across their costumes
Splatman: But the pair don’t last long on their feet and resort to dragging themselves through the mud on their stomachs, leaving a snail trail in their wake
One competitor dressed up as one of the 118 advert brothers leads a pack of three muddy runners who are stretching their lead beyond the crawlers
For the first time, the race featured an elite division which was won by Maldon Cricket club. The fastest individual time was reportedly Christopher Lee, who completed the dash in three minutes and 38 seconds
Nine charities benefited from the money raised by participants. They were Essex & Herts Air Ambulance, the Daniel Wilkinson Foundation, Brainwave, the David Randall Foundation, Little Havens Hospice, The Cinnamon Trust, Maldon and District Sea Cadets, Farleigh Hospice and Action for Family Carers
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Brian Farrington said: ‘The day involves nearly 12 months of pre-planning and there are always a few surprises. As the event grows, we are expanding our offering to include our Duck Race, Fancy Dress Competition for competitors plus a wide range of stalls with snacks and promotional gifts’
The race can only take place at low tide when the water is low enough to allow participants to run safely through the water to the opposite bank and back again
Maldon was invaded by the Vikings because its port allowed entry for their ships, and the well-run harbour appealed to the soldiers
One topless participant takes a well-earned rest as he sits in the slop and watches his fellow stragglers. But he seems in good spirits as he smiles and gives spectators the thumbs up
Together, these two competitors crawl their way through the course with grit and determination. In the background, the green starboard lateral buoy, which marks the port’s channel, sits on the riverbed
Cowpat: Two women dressed as cows look to get a moove on as they run through the mud towards the finish
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