The annual Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race is set to take place in London on Sunday 29th March this year; one of the city’s most popular sporting events, you’d be mad to miss out on the opportunity to watch the event live from the banks of the Thames if you’re planning to be in the capital at the time.
Originating in 1829, the Oxford University Boat Club and Cambridge University Boat Club first took to the waters of the Thames all those years ago, with the women’s race being introduced almost a hundred years later, in 1927.
With more than 250,000 people flocking to watch the race and enjoy the festivities it brings every year, here are a couple of things to know, especially if you’re planning on being a spectator yourself this year.
What time does the race take place?
The Women’s Boat Race starts at 3:44 pm, followed by the Men’s Boat Race an hour later, at 4:44 pm. Each race will last about 20 minutes, and although the timings seem random, they’re actually aligned to the time when the fastest current is expected.
Riverside events usually kick off around midday, so you’ll be well into the spirit of things and ready to cheer on your chosen team by the time the first klaxon sounds.
Where does the course run and where can I watch?
The race takes place between Putney and Mortlake, and the entire length of the course is 4.2 miles long. You can watch the race from anywhere you choose to along the banks of the Thames, as there’s plenty of room for everyone and it’s free of charge to spectators.
Some of the best places to catch a glimpse of the boats passing by – or starting, or finishing – include Putney Bridge, Chiswick Bridge, Hammersmith and Duke Meadows.
I’m a novice. Which team is which?
Oxford are traditionally kitted out in dark blue, while Cambridge wear a much lighter shade of blue. Cambridge are the current leaders in both the men’s and women’s races, with a score of 84 to 80 for the chaps and 44 to 30 for the ladies.
Everyone who participates in the races is a student at one of the universities, and they train as elite athletes while also completing their academic studies.
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