Thursday, 27 January 2011
It’s one of the most quirky events in the sporting calendar - and certainly one of the dirtiest!
The Maldon Mud Race on the Blackwater Estuary in Essex takes place every winter, and attracts some 250 entrants and thousands of spectators each year.
The race involves a 400-metre dash across the riverbed of the River Blackwater on the edge of the Essex Marshes. Participants, many in fancy dress, battle their way through thick, black, oozing mud and shallow waters from one side of the river to the other, often completing the course on hands and knees.
Legend has it that the race, which started nearly 40 years ago, is rooted in far more ancient history. The famous Battle of Maldon in 991, between the Danes and Anglo Saxons, resulted in the loss of the legendary Saxon leader, Britnorth. He was beheaded somewhere along the Blackwater, and although his body was recovered, his head never was. Wading through the thick sludge at low tide, the mud-caked participants of today are said to be searching in vain for the missing head of their long-lost leader.
The ‘Mad’ Maldon Mud Race takes place only when tidal conditions allow, attracting attention from all over the world, including TV cameras from as far away as Australia and the USA.
Last time round it raised over £22,000 for charity.
Unfortunately there's no more spaces left for entrants this year, but if you're free on the 25th April and fancy a laugh for a good cause (followed by an excellent pub lunch) then why not pop down and watch!
Visit www.maldonmudrace.com for more information.