Essex

Maldon Mud Race 2017: In pictures

Maldon mud race Image copyright PA
Image caption Participants dash across the River Blackwater and back again (or at least try to)

About 300 competitors slipped and slid their way through a gruelling course in an annual mud race in Essex.

Participants from across Europe came to Maldon for the town's mud race, which has been held since 1973.

Up to 30,000 people came to watch Sunday's event, which was raising money for a number of charities.

The 500m course started on the banks of the River Blackwater, went out into the water and then back again to the promenade.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Maldon Mud Race was first held in 1973 and attracts hundreds of participants each year
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Thousands of pounds are raised for charity each year
Image copyright AFP
Image caption The event started off as a dash for a pint - unfortunately for some, alcohol is no longer involved

The first race took place in 1973, as the result of a dare given to the landlord of a local pub by a resident, challenging him to serve a meal on the saltings of the River Blackwater dressed in a dinner jacket.

The challenge evolved and led to a bar being opened on the saltings, with a group of 20 people making a dash across the riverbed for a pint of beer before dashing back.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Competitors have to wade through thick mud, scrambling back up the riverbanks and saltings
Image copyright PA
Image caption Some find crawling works as a strategy

Beer is no longer involved - drinkers were causing a logjam on the saltings while they had their pints - but the race has continued ever since.

"The day involves nearly 12 months of pre-planning and there are always a few surprises," said the event's chairman, Brian Farrington.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The event attracts mudrunners from around the world
Image copyright PA
Image caption Up to 30,000 people came to watch the brave souls taking part

A duck race also takes place alongside the main event.

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