Record Entry for the Great River Race
A record entry of over 330 boats from all over the UK and around the world will compete in this year’s Great River Race, the 21-mile Thames marathon to find the UK Traditional Boat Champions. The first boat will leave from just above the Millwall Slipway, London Dockland at 12.20 this Saturday, with a winner expected at Ham, Richmond at around 15.15.
They will be propelled by over 2,400 enthusiastic rowers ranging from teenage Scouts to dragonboat champions. Entries have been received by a range of crews from rowing clubs, schools, corporations, emergency services, youth organisations and other societies and groups. To add spice, ITN, represented by Donal MacIntyre’s cew, has challenged BBC London’s Gareth Furby and his team to a ‘race within a race’.
Many will be striving to win the Challenge Trophy of The Company of Watermen & Lightermen of the River Thames, feature in one of the 34 other classes or simply finish and collect a much-prized individual participation certificate. Most will be raising money for charity and a high proportion will add to the spectacle by competing in fancy dress. The Race is run on a ‘slowest away first, fastest last’ pursuit handicap basis, meaning the last boat away will have to make up 58 minutes to win.
For spectators wishing to support crews, the Race starts from the Millwall Slipway, (opposite the Docklands Sailing Centre, Westferry Road E14 3QS) and finishes at Ham riverside, below Ham House (Richmond) at about 15.15. The race can also be followed by GPS tracking on the Great River Website from 12.00.