A glorious romp in the mud
You would have to be mad to run through a course waist-deep in mud on a chilly May day, but a group of keen competitors did just that, and all for a good cause.
Saturday's May Madness Mud Run, held to raise funds for the Stoke Volunteer Fire Brigade, featured several fun runs through mud, a bouncy castle for kids, face painting, a barbecue and a variety of other activities for children.
Once the mud runners finished their races, members of the fire brigade used the hoses on the back of their fire appliances to hose them down.
Grandparents Ray and Sue Crowe, together with granddaughter Sophie Collett, 12, were in a team and dressed up as "The Three Stooges" with colourful rainbow wigs on their heads.
Mr Crowe said he was looking forward to taking on the new challenge, although he was worried about the depth of the mud.
Mrs Crowe said she loved being able to do something fun, especially with her grandchildren.
She had decided to wear the rainbow wigs in an effort to keep her hair dry, she said.
"We might see wigs floating on top of the water if it's too deep," she said.
Sophie said she was looking forward to stopping mid-race to throw mud at her poppa.
Big Sister Tanya McMurtrie was taking her Little Sister Ashlee Blanchet, 11, and her nephew Daniel Holland, 10, for a race in the mud, with the team name Bunnies and Bare.
Ms McMurtrie and Daniel wore bunny ears, while Ashlee was dressed as a bear.
Ashlee said she was looking forward to the race, but she was a little worried she would be swallowed by the mud.
Daniel said he would try his hardest to win the race, but if he managed to trip over while running he would do "a big belly-flop".
Stoke station officer Keith Thawley said it was great that people had come out to support the fire brigade.
The day would be one of the main fundraisers of the year, he said.
"We just like to be out in the community helping out and showing that we are valued members, and we like coming out and supporting the community when we get the chance."
Hosing the competitors down was "the best part", he said.
Organiser Ingrid Nicholls said the event had proven popular and she hoped to make it an annual fixture.