Rowing is an extremely popular sport in the UK. Most schools and universities have their own rowing teams and, if good enough, may become part of the British Olympic rowing teams.
The most well-known event in the rowing world is the annual competition on the Thames between the Oxford and Cambridge University Boat Clubs. What started in 1829 for men and 1927 for women has now become a hugely popular event and increases the rivalry even further between Oxford and Cambridge universities. The two teams compete over a 4.25 mile stretch of the River Thames in London and the first to cross the line wins. The race starts at Putney Bridge, winds its way through London and ends at Chiswick Bridge. Both the men’s and women’s teams compete as well as the reserve teams.
This competition is an iconic British race, thousands line the Thames to get a glimpse of the boats and it’s shown live on the BBC too. The race is free to attend and as it’s so long, there are plenty of places on the river bank where you can stand and cheer. The roads tend to be closed alongside the river with people setting up shop for the day selling food and drinks and opening up outdoor bars to make the event an unforgettable day.
The winners are evenly spread. Oxford men have won a total of 81 races whilst Cambridge men have won 85. Cambridge women also lead with 46 wins to Oxford’s 30. This year the race took place on 3rd April and the winners were split – Oxford’s men, after a 5 year hiatus, and Cambridge’s women.