Covered in mud and having a ball
Rain did not deter the record 1400-strong crowd which struggled, slipped, crawled and squelched through two kilometres of Moutere estuary mud last Sunday for the annual Muddy Buddy event that raised about $12,000 for Tasman School.
Organisers of the fourth annual event, sisters-in-law Sally and Fleur Lattimore, said the growing annual army of families, groups of school children and friends willing to throw themselves whole-heartedly into the mire for a good cause highlighted the unique event's expanding culture.
The crowd of wet mud-daubed bodies, which was 400 up on last year, enjoyed every minute and gave no thought to the persistent drizzle. Upper Moutere's Bri Climo said it was the craziest and best thing she had ever done. Bri, who was spotted squatting in a puddle washing mud off her daughter Amalia, said she usually did not like even getting dirty.
Hundreds of post-race entrants swarmed to the water-tanker supplied showers then headed to the hot food tent. After that they wearily made their way back to their cars carrying bags of dirty clothes and tired but generally happy children.
Fleur said people were attracted by the mud.
"So often in life we spend time trying to keep clean, but it is the complete opposite here and more appealing when done with family and friends."
She said the event focused on providing for primary and intermediate aged children.
The largest contingent of children was a group of 50 from Nelson Intermediate School - the children went home with the respective boys' and girls' trophies.
Sally said the school's students had spent the last year monitoring the impact of the Muddy Buddy event, with help from Department of Conservation and Tasman District Council staff, to ensure it did not damage the environment. The course avoided bird nesting sites and estuary plantings, she said.
Principal Pip Wells said funds raised by the event would go towards upgrading the playground and building an e-learning programme for the pupils.