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News

The Boat Race is Back!

Categories: East Sheen,East Sheen News,Sports

With the first official race being held in 1829, and with annual races since 1856, this Sunday marks the 165th Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge Universities. The 4 mile course stretches from Putney to Mortlake, starting at Putney Bridge, passing Craven Cottage (Fulham Football Club’s stadium), Hammersmith Bridge and Chiswick Pier, before the final leg of the race which takes place between Barnes Railway Bridge and Chiswick Bridge. The healthy competition between Oxford (who race in dark blue) and Cambridge (who wear light blue) creates a lively atmosphere, perfect for a day out with family and friends.

With the first official race being held in 1829, and with annual races since 1856, this Sunday marks the 165th Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge Universities. The 4 mile course stretches from Putney to Mortlake, starting at Putney Bridge, passing Craven Cottage (Fulham Football Club’s stadium), Hammersmith Bridge and Chiswick Pier, before the final leg of the race which takes place between Barnes Railway Bridge and Chiswick Bridge. The healthy competition between Oxford (who race in dark blue) and Cambridge (who wear light blue) creates a lively atmosphere, perfect for a day out with family and friends.

As a significant sporting fixture on the domestic calendar, the Boat Race engages the local community by being not only enjoyable to watch, but also with its wide accessibility, through its live coverage on BBC1 (commentated by Andrew Cotter, who has covered the event since 2010) and its many spots along the river to watch the race live, with The Ship Inn in Mortlake being the most local to East Sheen. Other spots include the stretch of towpath behind the Stag Brewery, between The Ship and The White Hart in Barnes and, of course, atop Chiswick Bridge, where the finish line is located.

The Boat Race is a perfect opportunity to not only have a fun-filled day out, but also to support local restaurants and businesses; why not try lunch with Pickle and Rye’s American Diner style burgers and sandwiches (opposite Mortlake Station) or The Robin Craft Café’s Asian food, such as Vietnamese sandwiches or Thai curry (38 Sheen Lane) before wandering down to the river to catch the final – often nail-bitingly close – moments of the race?

If you fancy eating at home and instead grabbing a drink to watch the race, there is, of course The Ship Inn, which is situated not 300 metres from the finish line of the race on Ship Lane, but also The Jolly Gardener (a traditional community pub) and The Tapestry (a Tapas bar), which are situated opposite each other on the Lower Richmond Road, at the top of Ship Lane.

In conjunction with the growing awareness of climate change and the effort to be eco-friendly, it is important to remember to try and go ‘plastic-free’. Being one of London’s biggest sporting events, typically 50,000 single-use plastic cups can end up either in the river, contributing to the 300 tonnes of rubbish found annually in the Thames. As of 2019, some 14,000 reusable cups have been ordered that will be used in pubs along the river and can be used up to 50 times. In The Drink (https://inthedrink.org.uk/) is a non-profit scheme that helps riverside bars become part of the solution for plastic pollution, rather than a contributor – details can be found of their website as to how best help the cause.

The Women’s Boat Race starts at 2.15pm BST and the Men’s Boat Race starts at 3.15pm BST on Sunday 7th April, with each race likely to last around 20 minutes.

Author: Charlie Duncan

Charlie is currently studying English and Drama at the University of Exeter, and was raised in East Sheen and loves to contribute to the website and community when he can.