The Boat Race between the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford is an annual rowing competition between the two prestigious universities in England. The race takes place on the River Thames in London, covering a 4.2-mile (6.8 km) stretch between Putney and Mortlake. The tradition began in 1829 and has continued almost every year since, with the exception of a few interruptions due to world wars and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The two men’s teams, known as the “Blue Boats,” are composed of eight rowers and a coxswain each, and they race in traditional rowing eights. There is also a women’s race that follows the same course, which was first held in 1927 and became an annual event starting in 1964. The Women’s Boat Race joined the men’s race on the same day and course in 2015 and is just as competitive.
The competition is fierce, and the rivalry between the universities runs deep. Each race brings in large crowds; millions of people watch it on television or live stream. The overall score since the race’s inception is relatively close, with both universities having won similar races.
Developing boat racing for all in the UK is an important goal for fostering inclusivity, encouraging physical activity, and promoting the sport at various levels. To achieve this, multiple strategies are being employed to make rowing more accessible and appealing to a broader audience.
I am a Cambridge supporter, as my family have always been, and the excitement of watching Cambridge Women and Men win in 2023 was a thrilling experience.