The sun shone brightly and the mud was gloriously muddy as fundraisers threw themselves into the thick of it for the 2014 Maldon Mud Race.

Thousands of people lined the sea wall and grassy banks of Promenade Park to see 265 participants brave the mud flats of the River Blackwater in a gruelling dash from one side of the water to the other.

The four main charities to benefit from the race this year are The J’s Hospice, which supports young people with life-limiting conditions, Headway, which works to improve lives after brain injury, Macmillan Cancer Support and Rotary International.

The mud was so thick most people were forced to crawl through the thick black mud on their hands and knees but one man, James Haskey-Jones, managed to run on to glory, coming first place by finishing the race in just four minutes.

See the Maldon and Burnham Standard on Thursday for the full story and more photos