A RECORD number of more than 1,000 people took part in an epic race through mud and machine gun fire.

The Paras10 race took place on Saturday, with soldiers and civilians taking on the ten-mile charity challenge in Colchester.

Runners set off from Abbey Field, running through Merville Barracks and Friday Woods over the same hills and water obstacles crossed by soldiers on training runs.

Around the course, troops firing machine guns and throwing smoke grenades added to the atmosphere.

Support Our Paras director Stephen Cooper said: “I thank everyone who’s taken part and lay down the challenge to people to get involved, whether to better their time or try it for the first time.”

To view all the pictures from Saturday's race click here.

The entry fees raised money for Support Our Paras, which helps in need Paras and their families, but runners were also free to collect sponsorship for any charity.

Donna and Kearan Varley ran the race for the Lexden Springs appeal, a charity that helps young people with additional needs and provides activities and work experience for them, such as their son Matthew Robinson.

The 14 year-old attends the Halstead Road school.

Donna said: “The race was hard.

“It was my first race and the longest distance I had ran before so I was glad to make it all the way around.”

They plan to take part again next year.