Boat Race excitement builds across south west London as Oxford and Cambridge prepare for 163rd face-off
The Boat Race, one of the most iconic events on the British sporting calendar, will see thousands of spectators throng the banks of the Thames on Sunday afternoon.
Cambridge University take on Oxford University in the 163rd edition of a race that first took pace in 1829, with Cambridge leading 82 to 79.
BNY Mellon and Newton Investment Management donated the naming rights of the Boat Race to Cancer Research in January 2016.
Frances Milner, executive director of philanthropy and partnerships at Cancer Research UK, said: “Every two minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with cancer, which is why we need to pull together, get active, commit to a challenge and raise as much money as possible to help bring forward the day that all cancers are cured.”
The Women’s Boat race starts at 4.35pm, with the Boat Race at 5.35pm, when the men will be putting in a lung-busting effort to beat the Cambridge 1998 crew’s course record of 16 minutes and 19 seconds.
There was controversy ahead of this year’s race, with William Warr’s decision to row for Oxford after previously rowing for Cambridge expected to inject added excitement to the race.
Free entertainment at The Cancer Research UK Boat Race kicks off along the riverbank at 12pm to 7pm with Boat Race in the Park events at the Adnams Fan Park in Furnivall Gardens, Hammersmith and Bishop’s Park, Fulham with big screens, food, bars, children’s rides and sporting activities.
Putney Town Rowing Club situated near Chiswick Bridge will screen the race on a big screen and the club bar is open to the public throughout the afternoon.
Club Captain Peter Jones said: “We are just above the finish line so we can run down the tow-path to watch the finish.”
On the race he said: “My relatively uninformed view is Cambridge to win the women’s race and Oxford the men’s, but I note that two of last year’s winning Cambridge crew are now in Goldie, so perhaps they are even stronger?”
The club will hold a special time-trial in the morning for a new trophy in memory of a very long standing member of the club who sadly died last year.
The Star and Garter on Putney Embankment will screen the race live across three floors, with DJs and festival songs in the main bar from 12pm until late and with singer and acoustic guitarist Tim Barton playing live in the ballroom between 6-9pm.
Event sales manager Dora Tomosvary said: “It will be my first boat race, it will be super busy and amazing and we can’t wait.”
At 4 miles and 374 yards there are plenty of key vantage points along the Thames.
Putney Bridge offers great views off the start, and further along the Surrey bank are Putney Embankment, Barn Elms Boat House, with Hammersmith Bridge providing superb views of the mid-way point.
Located close by, St Paul’s School Boathouse and Chiswick Bridge are ideal places to watch the finish.