Ready, steady, PADDLE! Crews set to battle it out on Thames during Great River Race

Chinese dragon boats, Viking longships and a Bronze Age canoe are just some of the boats competing in the Great River Race today.

The event, dubbed London’s River Marathon, will see more than 2,400 competitors battle it out on the 21.6-mile course to be crowned the UK Traditional Boat Champions.

Crews drawn from pubs, youth clubs and the Armed Services will go paddle to paddle in an Hawaiian outrigger canoe in a bid to cross the finishing line first.

Army Team crew captain, Sgt. Tony Luciano said: “We are proud and delighted to represent the British Army competing for the Great River Race Services Trophy, racing in an outrigger canoe as familiar in Fiji today as it was in Captain Cook’s time.”

Most teams will be raising money for charity, including the race’s official 2014 charity, the Royal Benevolent and Educational Fund for Watermen and Lightermen.

The Great River Race starts from the Millwall Slipway, opposite the Docklands Sailing Centre, Westferry Road E14 3QS at 12.45, with boats leaving on handicap for an hour.

A winner is expected at Ham Riverside, below Ham House, Richmond at about 3.40pm.

Activities at Ham Riverside, below Ham House, will start at 12.30 with live music, bar, street food from around the world and a free family area featuring Punch and Judy, face painting, games and interactive circus tricks training.

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Picture courtesy of See-ming Lee, with thanks

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