Traditional boat crews from Melbourne to Maldon will converge pm Docklands for this annual 21.6-mile Thames marathon.
Together, they will join more than 300 boats from all over the UK and around the world competing to find the UK Traditional Boat Champions. The entry includes gigs, skiffs, cutters, naval whalers, Chinese dragon boats, Hawaiian war canoes, shallops, skerries, wherries and many, many more.
Over 2,500 competitors will brave the Great River Race course, from dedicated regular racers to fun rowers and paddlers, ranging from barely-teenage Scouts to national champions. Crews are entered by groups as diverse as rowing clubs, councils, schools, livery companies, pubs, youth clubs, police, fire brigades, the Armed Services, banks and other companies.
Many will be striving to win the main prize, the Challenge Trophy of The Company of Watermen & Lightermen of the River Thames, awarded to the first boat over the line, to figure in one of the 33 other classes or simply to finish and collect a much-prized participation certificate. The race is run on a 'slowest away first, fastest last' pursuit handicap basis, meaning the last boat away will have to make up over an hour to win.
Most will be raising money for charity and many are sure to add to the spectacle of the race by competing in fancy dress.
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