The May Bank Holiday - a time to rest and put your feet up, to relax and enjoy a bit of peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of the working office environment?...
Not a chance!!
As part of the AWA 20 Year Celebrations a four-strong team of staff signed up to take part in this year’s local annual Maldon Mud Race, throughout the past few months the team had been asking for donations and raised more than there team target and getting well over their original target to over £1700! for local charities. Thousands of spectators lined the length of the sea wall in Maldon’s Promenade Park on Bank Holiday Monday for one of the country’s most unusual events. They were among 300 competitors who ran, swam, rolled and crawled their way knee deep through Maldon’s glorious mud over a 400 metre course, at times finding themselves grappling with other competitors along on their knees and bums through the muck, arms and legs sinking into the deep mud with the smell getting worse the further they got !
The team consisted of CAD Manager Chris Hopkins, alongside 2 of the members of the CAD Team Chris Rogers & Matt Gill, and Document Controller Lisa Little.
Before the race here is what our team had to say:
Chris H said: “What a good idea this is, but the previous year’s pictures and videos can’t be as bad as they look…can they?”
Chris R said: “It seemed like a good idea at the time, I’m sure it can’t be that bad…..Can it?!”
Matt said: “I am Looking forward to the challenge…but is it too late to pull out”??
Lisa said: “Why oh Why did I ever volunteer for this, but I am actually looking forward to a challenge and seeing if I can do this”! (Yes at my age!)
We arrived at the promenade park mid-morning (bright sunshine, perfect mud race conditions?) In preparation for the race and all the other side shows and events to see that go on around the park throughout the day, the race start time was 2pm, but there was plenty to do before then, We registered ourselves and were provided with a goody bag containing a Maldon Mud Race t-shirt and a timing chip, to get an official finishing time, (if we finished!)
After a couple of hours spending time with friends and family looking around prior to the main event it was soon 1:30 and the 4 of us met up and were ready to go, the registration van had closed and all competitors were ready, it was first time for the fancy dress and duck race competitions, we never took part in the fancy dress, even though we did look pretty silly donning our wigs, shorts gloves and AWA shirts.
Once all this was over it was time for the ‘Warm Up’ a time for all 300 of us competitors and other crazy people to dance around to the `Townsend Twins’ instructions, we looked and felt very silly dancing around the promenade park with thousands of spectators watching over us, but we were getting loose and trying to `warm up’ before we hit the mud!
The warm up was over it was time for the main event, we made our way onto the edge of the river bank near the start line ready for the race, wigs at the ready, shoes taped to our feet and donning our company T-shirts we were ready, the crowd gave us a countdown and it was time to go!
We were a few rows back from the front runners but we made good way for the first part of the race down the bank into the first part of the race crossing the water, we waded our way through the water some of the field competitors we went past were in the exact same boat as us, knee deep in low tide water for the first 25 metres, the team after we got through the water split up and due to different ideas of routes and the pace of the race, we had made way from one side of the river bank to the other and it was now up the mud to get on the back straight, there was quite a hill of mud to crawl through and nearly all the competitors crawled this part of the course, some made it look very easy, plenty didn’t and were crawling and rolling around trying to get up the mud, once we were up it was on the long back straight along the River Blackwater this part of the course was just as tough as the first part but the competitors had split up by this point and the winner of the race had already completed the course in a rapid speed of 4.18, we were making our way along and were ready for the turnaround return leg to the finish line back down the river bed in mud, through the low tide water which sort of helped get some of the mud off of you, heading through the water it was then time to climb back up the river bed and through the finish line, thousands of people of all who were finding the whole thing quite hilarious cheering and shouting at everyone, The AWA team all came home with very respectable times they were personally happy with and most of all completed the course, But we had done it !!
And at the end of the race here are what our team said:
Chris H said: The wet mud was the toughest part getting up the river bank took me forever !
Chris R said: I need a shower !
Matt said: It was good, I enjoyed it, looking forward to next year !
This is what some of the other members of staff had to say that decided to watch rather than participate:
“They all did very well, I’m glad it wasn’t me”
“It looked tough out there”
The entrance fee and all donations raised for the 400-metre fun run are split between many charities of the competitor’s choosing and various local causes selected by the Rotary Club.
The brilliant causes are listed below:
• Maldon Citizens Advice Bureau
• Rob George Foundation
• Tim Reeve Charitable Trust
• David Randall Foundation
• Little Havens Hospice
• The Cinnamon Trust
A very good day all in all and reflecting on the event all members of staff were very pleased with their efforts with the donations raised and the event itself, we would like to thank everyone for their donations and support.
At the time of writing £1770 was raised by AWA Consultants and the Maldon Mud Race had raised a grand total of £20,100