Water Marathon spectacular to start at 1.40pm
The Great River Race, London's River Marathon, is a spectacular boat race up the River Thames that attracts over 300 crews from all over the globe 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. A great fun day out for competitors and spectators alike.
Timetable of the Day
From 10:20 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
Our 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.
Not long after passing Canary Wharf, the unmistakable outline of Tower Bridge comes into sight. The Bridge is a great favourite with spectators who love to line the rails to watch the crews fighting for position as they approach.
Tricky currents give crews, especially novices, a tough challenge as some fight to hold on to their handicap advantage, while others try to weave their way through. Great racing for the crowds as the competition hots up.
The leading boats are now passing the Houses of Parliament and concentrating on the long haul upriver. Back at Millwall there are still more than one hundred boats yet to start.
Approaching the halfway point and the crews have now received maximum assistance from the incoming tide. The riverside promenades above and below the Bridge make excellent vantage points.
While the best crews in the slower boats are still leading the field, the more powerful crews in the faster craft are now showing their speed as they move through the field.
While the head of the Race is now two thirds of the way home, the end of the fleet has just cleared central London.
Tricky currents around the Dove Pier just above the Bridge will test tiring crews and weary coxes.
With around an hour to go, speculation mounts as to whether those low-handicap boats which have led the fleet for so long will be able to hold on to their advantage or be overwhelmed. Chiswick Pier is a wonderful vantage point from which to watch the race and they will be offering a BBQ, Fullers’ bar, and refreshments to add to the enjoyment of the day
Now racing a against a semi-rural backdrop, the faster dragonboats, Waterman Cutters, Pilot Gigs and Celtic Longboats are beginning to show their superior pace and feature in the top twenty.
Richmond's riverside spectators cheer on the crews as they pass through the Bridge. With 35 trophies up for grabs, crews must draw on their last reserves to vie for a winning spot.
RIVERSIDE BELOW HAM HOUSE, RICHMOND
Our 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.
After the finish there are still more than 300 boats to come in over the next couple of hours, many of them to claim honours. Then it’s time to have a much-earned drink in the Great River Race marquee on the riverside below historic Ham House, swap stories and listen to cries of “never again”!
September 16, 2011