The Great River Race

Over 330 crews will be passing Brentford on Saturday 14th September

Great River Race 2018 © Aaran Hayhoe


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The Great River Race is London's River Marathon. A spectacular boat race up the River Thames, it attracts over 330 crews from all over the globe racing the 21.6 Miles from London Docklands to Ham in Surrey.

The Great River Race appeals to every level of competitor! From dedicated athletes who like winning, to those who enjoy laughter, fancy dress and charity stunts, it's a great fun day out for both competitors and spectators.

The race was first run in 1988 with 61 entrants rowing more than 20 boat types representing six countries, including an Hawaiian outrigger, war canoe, Viking longboat, Norwegian scow, Canadian C-8 canoe, Chinese dragonboat and numerous Cornish pilot and other gigs, skiffs cutters, ASC, naval whalers and the like to take on the Watermen’s shallop.

Since then the race has gone from strength to strength and has now become ‘London’s River Marathon’. Its inspiration came from the great interest generated by a 1987 charity event in which the famous Doggett’s Coat & Badge winners from The Company of Watermen & Lightermen rowed its shallop (passenger barge) from Hampton Court to The Tower of London.

Starting at 9.00am after the official starter fires the maroon at Millwall riverside in London Doklands the boats leave on a ‘slowest first, fastest last’ handicap basis, giving all crews an equal chance.

At around 12.35pm the crews will starting passing under Wandsworth Bridge, at this poing the best crews in the slower boats are still leading the field, the more powerful crews in the faster craft will be showing their speed as they move through the field.

Boats will pass Kew Bridge around 1.30pm.

Around 2.30pm the Race winner will cross the line at Ham to a cannon broadside, rousing applause, and the prospect of receiving The Challenge Trophy of The Company of Watermen & Lightermen and becoming the UK Traditional Boat Champions in the process.

August 29, 2019

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