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The Boat Race

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The Boat Race

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The Boat Race

The ancient rivalry between these two erudite institutions erupts annually in the Oxford and Cambridge boat race. 16 minutes and 19 seconds of nail-biting tension (at its quickest) followed by euphoria or despair. The Championship course runs roughly four and a quarter miles from Putney to Mortlake and more than 250,000 people line the banks of the River Thames to cheer on their teams. The Boat Race is televised and is one of the top five most-watched English sporting events, up there alongside the FA Cup and Wimbledon.

But what makes it so popular? Is it the chance of spotting a soon-to-be-famous face on one of the crews? Hugh Laurie and Lord Snowdon have both grabbed an oar at one time and the crews often contain Olympic gold medallists in the making. Is it the possibility of mishaps? Waterloggings and sinkings are not unknown. Maybe it’s the unpredictability of the outcome. There are so many variables (tides, bends in the river, water levels, weather conditions) that it is impossible to guess who will win. But whatever the outcome, there are great pubs to celebrate in or drown your sorrows!


Your comments

Oxford v Cambridge: a historic battle.

Jo Blundell

Quirky, sense of tradition,,,,,

I was about twelve the first time I saw the Boat Race on television and have been addicted ever since. I used to have a bet with my Grandfather ,on the outcome, of sixpence, which I usually lost as I favoured Oxford. They were often the underdog and I once remember their boat sinking. Of course now they are doing very well as for the last few years they have been the winners.
Angela Wilson

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My favourite Icon of England has to be the Cornish Pasty.

Ian Baldry