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Hundreds plunge into river mud for 50th annual race

Hundreds of competitors have slogged their way across a muddy riverbed to raise money for charity.

The Maldon Mud Race sees participants run, leap and crawl across a 400m (1,312ft) stretch of the River Blackwater in Essex at low tide as they hope to be crowned the winner.

It is the 50th year of the event, which attracts people from across Europe and raises thousands of pounds for good causes.

Competitors can take "30 to 35 minutes to complete the race" once the mud becomes churned up, said organiser Brian Farrington.

Peter Carlsson, part of a team from Plume Academy, was the winner of this year's event.

"It was fantastic," he told BBC Essex. "It was my first one.

"I had a strategy to keep in the bank and take long strides, and it paid off.

"I'm very happy."

The event was held over three days to mark its half century and, with the sun out, the race itself attracted large crowds of onlookers.

Mr Farrington, one of seven volunteer organisers, said: "If you stay on the virgin mud, it will be fine. We had someone who did it in three minutes and 40 seconds last year, that is a record."

However, by the time the winner got across the finish line, the mud became more and more churned up and sticky.

"The finish is very difficult because it is up hill, so everyone ends up on their hands and knees - apart from the winner," Mr Farrington explained.

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