RECORD-BREAKING numbers crawled in mud, ran across fields and waded through water to raise money for the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal.

A total of 243 runners and around 90 cadets took part in The Great Gwent Poppy Run today, testing their endurance on a challenging 10k obstacle course on farmland in Penpergwm, Monmouthshire.

The seventh year of the poppy run was held to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917 which lasted from July 31 to November 10 in 1917.

Runners gathered to pay tribute to the soldiers before the race, with president of Gwent Royal British Legion Lt Col Mike Harry reading from the poem For the Fallen by wartime poet Robert Laurence Binyon.

Mike Jones, Gwent Poppy Appeal co-ordinator, and the organiser of the run, told the runners before the race: “One hundred years ago on November 5, 1917, the Battle of Passchendaele had been raging since July 31 and ended in five days time on November 10.

“A lot of those people fell in mud and never came home and all of the men who did not come home died in that horrible muddy field around Flanders. You are going to go out today and you will be coming home.”

The course saw runners scale hay bales, wade through mud and cross a section of the River Usk before going through woodland.

First adult to cross the finish line was South Wales Argus digital editor and RAF Reservist Martin Wade. He finished narrowly ahead of Anthony Cook, an ex military serviceman in the Royal Welsh First Battalion.

The Argus website editor praised Mr Cook for helping him over the obstacles and said he enjoyed the challenges of the course. He also said the event was about camaraderie and helping each other.

Close behind the pair was Paul Morris, 49, of Abergavenny, with his partner Annabel Shaw, 46.

Mr Morris said: “I found the act of remembrance at the start really inspiring and I thought it was a fantastic event. Everybody was helping each other to complete the course.”

The first cadets across the line were Raglan Barracks detachment from Gwent and Powys ACF Connor Watts, 16, Dan Williams, 14 and Callum Summerfield-Ali, 16.

Last year’s event raised nearly £3,500, with this year’s total expected to be even higher with the increased turn-out.