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Great River Race

The annual race along the River Thames from Richmond to Greenwich on September 16 is a spectacular affair, now in its 18th year and a highlight of the Mayor’s Thames Festival.

The annual race along the River Thames from Richmond to Greenwich on September 16 is a spectacular affair, now in its 18th year and a highlight of the Mayor’s Thames Festival. Somewhere approaching 300 traditional rowed or paddled boats are expected to enter the 22-mile water marathon this year, ranging from Chinese dragon boats, Viking longboats, Hawaiian war canoes or Irish curraghs to many other weird and wonderful craft. Crews from around the world compete for the 35 trophies, notably the coveted Challenge Trophy of the Company of Watermen and Lightermen of the River Thames. A system of computer handicapping evens out the variations between the boats to give each a fair chance of winning.

The race starts at 09.35 below Ham House in West London and finishes at Island Gardens on the Isle of Dogs (opposite Greenwich Pier and the Cutty Sark).The boats are expected to pass beneath Westminster Bridge around noon, taking around an hour and a half from first to last. Live commentary will be relayed to spectators on the South Bank’s Riverside Walkway at points near the Oxo Tower, Tate Modern gallery and Hay’s Galleria.


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