MORE than 2,000 people of all ages took on this year’s Gelt Gladiator challenge - and won.

Torrential rain on Friday night and Saturday left the course - at Walton, between Carlisle and Brampton - even muddier than usual, but organiser Mike James said everyone just embraced it.

“In 20 years of event management, Saturday was the most challenging day I’ve ever had. We had to tow and push cars in the car park, but the whole team worked so hard and the feedback has been fantastic,” he said.

Saturday was the family day, with a shorter-length course open to children of all ages.

Mr James said this section grows every year, and there were about 1,500 participants - including from lots of local sports clubs.

“It gets bigger and bigger. These days children don’t really get the opportunity to roll around in the mud so they went for it big style. It was fantastic,” he said.

On the Sunday, a further 800 adults had the chance to enjoy themselves in the mud.

Participants could take on either the 10k or 10-mile course, with the fastest competitor completing the later, including 90 tough obstacles, in 1hr 34min.

However for many it wasn’t about times, it was overcoming a personal challenge and getting around as part of a team.

A 10-strong group from The Miners Arms at Broughton Moor dubbed themselves ‘Not Fast But Fabulous’. Among them was Tammy Lofthouse, who said: “We are just here for a bit of fun and to make a day of it. Some of us have trained, some haven’t.”

Archaeologists Clara Dickinson, Ariane Buschmann and Steven Chetwynd take part every year and can’t get enough of the mud. “It’s a brilliant event, especially the slide,” said Clara.

Andy Sweetman from the Border Reivers Runners team was still smiling, even after falling face-down in the mud. “I love it. This is the perfect weather for it. The mud is fantastic,” he said.