When: 9th September 2017
Where: River Thames (Docklands to Ham), London
£: Free to watch
What is it?
Three hundred and thirty crews, including newcomers from Kuwait and Bermuda, will start the 30th Great River Race this weekend. The race is London’s 21.6 mile river marathon, taking place from Docklands to Ham, in order to find the UK Traditional Boat Champions.
The varied traditional boat entry includes gigs, skiffs, cutters, naval whalers, Chinese dragon boats, Hawaiian war canoes, lifeboats, longships, shallops, skerries, wherries and many more. Some 2,500 competitors will brave the challenging 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, youth organisations, police, fire brigades, the Armed Services and banks.
Many will be striving to win 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 of the participants will be raising money for charity and many are sure to add to the spectacle of the race by competing in fancy dress.
The Great River Race starts from the Millwall Slipway, opposite the Docklands Sailing Centre, at 12.55pm on the Saturday, with boats leaving on handicap for 67 minutes. A winner is expected at Ham Riverside, below Ham House in Richmond, at about 4.15pm. For those who would like to watch from one of the bridges, the race is expected to pass Tower Bridge at 1.15pm, Millennium Bridge at 1.20pm, Westminster Bridge at 1.30pm, Lambeth Bridge at 1.35pm, Battersea Bridge at 1.50pm, Wandsworth Bridge at 2pm, Putney Bridge at 2.05pm, Hammersmith Bridge 2.20pm, Chiswick Bridge at 2.50pm, Kew Bridge at 3.05pm and Richmond at 3.40pm.
During the event there will be activities taking place at Ham Riverside, below Ham House, beginning at 12pm. There will be a bar, street food from around the world, live music, commentary and a free family arena featuring games, circus tricks training, Punch & Judy and face painting. While at Richmond Riverside, above the Bridge, there will be entertainment from 1pm.
The Great River Race is part of Totally Thames, a month-long celebration of the river across its 42 London miles. The Great River Race is organised by The Great River Race Limited, a not-for-profit company, supported by the London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames, Fuller’s, Areen Design and Gradian.
More info: www.greatriverrace.co.uk