A staple of the English sporting calendar, the Boat Race regularly attracts crowds in excess of a quarter of a million people to the banks of the River Thames. The event, which sees teams from Oxford and Cambridge universities battle it out annually, has a long rich tradition which goes back to the early nineteen hundreds.
The course runs for over four and a quarter miles beginning in Putney before winding its way to the finish line in Mortlake. Astoundingly, given the distance travelled the race takes only between 16 and 18 minutes with Cambridge having set the record speed at 16 minutes 19 seconds.
If you’d like to see the action, the best places to alight from the Tube are Kew Gardens, Hammersmith or if you are coming by train – Chiswick, Mortlake, Putney or Barnes Bridge rail stations.
The race is the result of a challenge set up by two University students, Oxford undergraduate Charles Wordsworth and Cambridge undergraduate Charles Merrivale.
The two were long time friends having studied at Harrow together. Meeting one day at Cambridge the pair decided to create a water born challenge. Shortly afterwards the boat race began.
The first race took place at Henley on Thames with Oxford running away with the honours. It was only in 1863 that the race moved to London however where it has been ever since.
The Women’s race began in 1927 but took place only intermittently afterwards. That first event proved controversial however, with the Times reporting on a large, hostile crowd of men protesting about the event from a towpath. Fortunately, things have got better and now the Women’s race is a massive and important part of the event.
This year’s Boat Race will take place on Sunday the 3rd of April 2022. The race will take place between Putney and Mortlake. If you would like more information on the event, please click here.
If you would information on other great sporting events in London, please click here.