It's the ultimate test - which university is better? Let's face it, it doesn't matter about the grades, it doesn't matter about the job prospects, it doesn't matter about their alma mater, it all falls down to what happens when 8 of each establishment row a boat down the mighty River Thames. The old folklore says that neither team could beat each other at rock, paper, scissors during a 100 year disagreement started by Henry VIII so a bigger more physical challenge was required, and they looked to the water. Established in 1829 and becoming a regular event for the men in 1856, the boat race covers a 4.2-mile (6.8 km) stretch of the Thames in West London, from Putney to Mortlake. This year is the 163rd year of the male race and Cambridge will be hoping to cling onto the prize after winning by 2 and a half lengths last year.
The women's race started in 1927 but has only taken place on the same stretch of river as the men since 2015. This year the women's race kicks off at 4.35pm and the men's race follows an hour later at 5.35pm.
The race starts at Putney Bridge and travels upriver past Hammersmith Bridge and ends near Chiswick Bridge. The best viewing locations are along Putney Embankment, on Hammersmith Bridge (although get there early as this position is coveted by the regulars) Chiswick Pier and Dukes Meadow. The latter two being best for watching the final stages of the race.
WHICH BLUE ARE YOU?:
If you are an alma mater of either university you know exactly which stroke you are backing but for most of us who didn't attend either Oxford or Cambridge University it is hard to pick a side. Here is a little low down on the history of the winners to give you a steer in the right direction.
- Side with the winners?: Cambridge won last year after a 4 year losing streak.
- Go with the underdog Oxford? Cambridge have won overall having romped to victory 82 times compared to the dark blues who have won 79 times. There has only been one draw in the history of the race which unsurprisingly was before camera replay in 1877.
- Go with the bookies?: The odds according to Ladbrokes (as of Friday) were stacked in Oxford's favour: Oxford 1/3, Cambridge 9/4, Dead heat 150/1.
- Back the crew Stats:
- Cambridge's crew: Ben Ruble (bow), 87.3 kg, Freddie Davidson, 81.9 kg, James Letten, 106.5 kg, Tim Tracey, 97.4 kg, Aleksander Malowany, 94.4 kg, Patrick Eble, 90.4 kg, Lance Tredell, 94.3 kg, Henry Meek (stroke), 95.4 kg, Hugo Ramambason (cox), 55.3 kg.
- Oxford's Crew: William Warr (bow), 94.2 kg, Matthew O’Leary, 74.8 kg, Oliver Cook, 91.7 kg, Joshua Bugajski, 99.2 kg, Olivier Siegelaar, 101.2 kg, Michael DiSanto, 89.9 kg, James Cook, 84 kg, Vassilis Ragoussis (stroke), 86.6 kg, Sam Collier (cox) 59.8 kg.
- Go with the Girls: Cambridge have won the women's race 41 times versus the 30 wins from Oxford.
If you have a penchant for the blues, like us at HQ, then have a look at our beautifully crafted bike bags - one crafted in Oxford blue (dark navy) and the other in Cambridge blue (turquoise blue) and they even have studious names to match - Professor (for Oxford) and Don (for Cambridge.) The perfect accompaniment to ride along the river supporting your team and even works perfectly cycling around the city, when the studies resume. View the bags here
Good luck to both teams - male and female...