MALDON’S popular saltmarsh marathons return this month, follow tracks along the scenic saltmarsh coastline.

Both runners and walkers are invited to take part in this Saturday’s annual 13.5-mile off-road trek which follows the River Crouch from South Woodham Ferrers to Burnham.

The Ultra Saltmarsh Marathon, which sees runners tackle more than 50 miles of coastline, also returns this Saturday.

This year’s event will push participants to their limit, extending the distance by a further 13 miles from previous years.

Charlie Fillingham, of Maldon’s Sense of Place Project, said: “For over six years the saltmarsh events have challenged runners and walkers to take on the unique Maldon district coastline.

“This year the Saltmarsh Ultra and Saltmarsh Half Marathons will welcome more people than ever.

“Over 13.1 or 50 miles, participants will stretch their legs along our stunning, often isolated, coastline.

“The events raise the profile of our saltmarsh coast and encourages coastal access.”

The Ultra starts at South Woodham Ferrers and follows the Dengie Peninsular to Maldon’s Promenade Park.

An event spokesman said: “We initially envisaged this event as great a way to celebrate our special coastal connection and encourage more people to explore the Saltmarsh Coast Trail.

“We get so much fantastic feedback about the event, with some people saying they want it harder and some saying it should be more accessible. This year we have decided to do both.

“For those who really want a challenge the Saltmarsh Ultra is the perfect test – 50 miles of coastal trail in one day.

“It passes the historic maritime villages and miles of isolated tidal marsh before finishing in Maldon’s fantastic Promenade Park.

“For people who enjoy stretching their legs, half marathons or long coastal walks, the Saltmarsh Half is perfect.

“It trails along the banks of the River Crouch, passing the vineyards of the Crouch Valley and finishing in Burnham.”

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