A record field of 2,700 people crawled, climbed and splashed their way around a gunge-filled course to take on the third annual JCB Mud Run.
The number was nearly treble last year’s total with competitors attending from all over the UK to raise £50,127 for the NSPCC in Staffordshire.
Obstacles included a 100ft rope climb and underground tunnels were combined with natural terrain – including woods, rivers, inclines and peat – for the five-mile course on land owned by JCB.
The Rocester-based JCB has recently completed a £2 million fund-raising campaign which has helped to pay for the charity’s new service centre, Carole House, in Newcastle-under-Lyme.
A cheque was presented to the NSPCC by George Bamford, son of JCB chairman Lord Bamford.
Mr Bamford, who took part in the JCB Mud Run, said: “What a fantastic event and what great camaraderie – the best I’ve ever seen. Everyone was helping one another to get over the obstacles and to get through the mud and water.
“I can’t believe so many people have turned out – 2,700 is an incredible number. And I’m so proud of what we have been able to raise for the NSPCC. It’s a staggering total. Well done to everyone.”
Pete Turgoose, NSPCC Stoke-on-Trent service centre manager, said: “Thanks so much to everyone at JCB for making this event possible. This is the third Mud Run and JCB has evidently tapped into something that people love.
“Getting filthy, having fun and doing some phenomenal fund-raising is a perfect combination and we know that every pound raised will go towards helping us run vital support services for local children.”
First team across the line included Mark Dalkins, who two weeks earlier he was in Savannah, Georgia where he also won the JCB North America Mud Run.
The veteran roadrunner said: “It was a tough course and a bit longer than last year’s and there were more obstacles. It had been raining for 12 hours solid in the build-up so there was a lot more water around, which made going underfoot a real challenge.
“Having said that it was great fun to take part in and the fact I was in America two weeks earlier to do the JCB event there made it even more special.”
London 2012 Olympic Torchbearer Dave Allen – who works for JCB as a sales manager – was crowned the JCB Mud Run winner in the individual race with a time of 38 minutes and 53 seconds.
The 48-year-old, of Tean, said: “I enjoy the off-road running and this is a lot of fun. There were a lot of challenges set by the course organisers so well done to them. They got the right balance between challenging and fun.”
Among those taking part were Daniel Skalicky, 23, – a professional ice hockey player from Liberec, in the Czech Republic, who flew to the UK to join his brother Michal for the Mud Run.
Michal, 25, who lives in Uttoxeter and is a JCB finance graduate, said: “We had a great deal of fun taking part. I told my brother about the JCB Mud Run and he was keen to come over for it. He is starting pre-season training back home in a couple of weeks so this was a great warm up. I was not sure what to expect but this was really excellent and we’ll definitely be back.”
Other teams competing included representatives from JCB France, who flew in from Paris for the event, and a Dutch team from Van Leeuwan Pipe and Tube Group.