IT IS not unknown for mums to throw their hands up in horror when their children come in from playing with muddy clothes.

But Maria Cook’s first reaction when she saw her son Tyler after the Mud Kids race last weekend was to hug him.

The eight-year-old had just completed the 3k obstacle race to raise money for Crohn’s and Colitis UK because his mum suffers from incurable ulcerative colitis and chronic arthritis.

Seeing him cross the line at the finish was wonderful. “Because I had been in hospital and was severely unwell I think it just made it that little bit more emotional. I had been wondering if I would get out in time,” she said.

“It was heart melting. We did a high five – that’s our thing – and we had a muddy hug.”

Grange Park Junior pupil Tyler, said he entered the race because he wanted to help everyone who was poorly. In the end he managed to raise almost £450

Maria said he came up with the idea after seeing similar charity appeals on TV. “Obviously what I have has an impact on the whole family,” she said.

“Sometimes Tyler has to be a little bit older than he really is. We’re lucky, we have such lovely family support from my family. But when I’m not very well you can’t hide it from the children.

Maria, who has to inject herself with chemotherapy drugs and take immune suppressants, said: “Normally I’m the one who cares for him and when I can’t, that does impact him.”

“We have to take each day as it comes. If it’s a good day we have a really good time and enjoy ourselves. He is really good at dealing with it.”

“He asked me if he could do something for Crohn’s and Colitis UK. I said he could and asked him what he wanted to do. He is quite physical – he goes to martial arts every week, so we found Mud Kids.”

“He liked it because it was a positive thing and because it made me happy.”

They set up an online donation page,, so his supporters could help.

Maria, from Upper Stratton, was not sure whether she would be fit enough to take part. Two weeks before the event in Bath she was in the intensive care unit with pneumonia she thinks she probably contracted because of her weakened immune system.

But with the help of older son Jordan, 17, she made it round part of the course.

Tyler, meanwhile was having a whale of a time running and scrambling over obstacles with his dad Darrell, a former soldier.

He had never run as far before and he loved going getting messy. “My favourite bit was when I had to go down a slide and crawl in the mud,” he said. He is also quite keen on having another go.