The Great River Race, London’s River Marathon, is a spectacular boat race up the River Thames over 21.6 Miles from London Docklands to Ham in Surrey. It attracts over 300 crews from all over the world and appeals to every level of competitor from those who enjoy fun, fancy dress and charity stunts, to serious sportsmen and women who like to win.
It has become popular with competitors and spectators and has become truly international event with crews coming from America, Canada, Croatia, Holland, Italy, Sweden, France, Germany, Ireland, and the Channel Islands, as well as all over the UK.
Now a major event, the first Great River Race in 1988 was a more modest affair with 72 entrants in more than 20 boat types representing six countries, including an Hawaiian outrigger war canoe, Viking longboat, Norwegian scow, Canadian C-8 canoe, Chinese dragonboat, and numerous Cornish pilot and other gigs, skiffs, cutters, ASC, naval whalers and the Watermen’s shallop, star of the film ‘A Man For All Seasons’.
Celebrity starters who have come along to fire the cannon to get the Race under way have included Sting, Jerry Hall, Sir Steven Redgrave, Sir Trevor MacDonald, Jane Horrocks and Dame Tanni Grey Thompson.
With entries now well over 300 boats carrying approx. 2,400 competitors racing for 35 trophies, The Great River Race has become the biggest and most prestigious event of its kind in Europe.
From 9:15 hours
MILLWALL RIVERSIDE, WESTFERRY ROAD
Competing crews arrive, register and prepare their boats for the launch and of course the Race. Public announcements throughout.
MILLWALL DOCK SLIPWAY
The starter fires the maroon to start the first of the 300-odd entrants. Boats leave on a ‘slowest first, fastest last’ handicap basis, giving all crews an equal chance.
RIVERSIDE BELOW HAM HOUSE, RICHMOND
The Race winner crosses the line to a cannon broadside, rousing applause, and the prospect of receiving The Challenge Trophy of The Company of Watermen & Lightermen and becoming the UK Traditional Boat Champions in the process.
If you would like further information, visit the Event website here
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