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Daily Archives: April 7, 2013


10 things you didn’t know

About the Boat Race

Oxford – Cambridge Boat Race

Congratulations to Oxford – the 2011 Boat Race winners!

In England, how do we know when Spring is coming? Sunshine, lambs in the fields, daffodils in bloom …? No, we know it’s Spring when it’s time for The Boat Race!

You may have heard about this famous annual race, between Oxford and Cambridge University, but did you know:

  • Its full name is the University Boat Race, or the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, but just say the two words ‘Boat Race‘ to any British person, and they will know exactly what you mean.
  • The tradition was started in 1829 by two friends, one at Oxford and one at Cambridge, and has been held annually ever since (except during the two world wars).
  • It usually takes place on the last Saturday of March, or the first Saturday of April.
  • Members of both teams are known as blues, with Cambridge being light blue, and Oxford dark blue.
  • The course of the race is 4 miles and 374 yards (6.779km) and goes from Putney to Mortlake, on the River Thames.
  • The current record time is 16 minutes and 19 seconds, and was set by Cambridge in 1998.
  • Before the race begins, the presidents of the two boat clubs toss a coin – a gold sovereign dated 1829 – and the winner chooses which side of the river (called a ‘station’) they will row on. The north station is called ‘Middlesex’ and the south station is called ‘Surrey’.
  • Each year, after the race, the losing team challenges the winning team to a rematch.
  • Only once, in 1877, has the race been declared a dead heat.
  • To date, Cambridge are ahead by 80 wins to Oxford’s 75.


Cambridge boat crew

Boat Race 2012: Cambridge and Oxford seek boxing inspiration


  • Venue: River Thames, London
  • Date: 7 April
  • Start: 1300 BST

Coverage: Live coverage on BBC1 and online. Commentary on Radio 5 live Sports Extra

Underdogs Cambridge are seeking inspiration from Hollywood boxing film Rocky ahead of the 158th Boat Race.

Cambridge president Dave Nelson says he has spent the build-up to the annual event watching the 1976 film and wants his crew to adopt the winning attitude of Sylvester Stallone’s character.

“There is a lot to be gained from that film, particularly the message ‘You can go a long way with heart’,” he said.

Defending champions Oxford are the favourites to retain their crown.

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Watch the 158th Boat Race in full

Dark Blues president Karl Hudspith said he has also drawn inspiration from boxing ahead of Saturday’s four-and-a-half mile race on the River Thames in London.

“I watched the biographical film about Mike Tyson,” said Hudspith.

“With Tyson, one of the things I was interested to see was how he prepares, walking up to the ring, all the things going through his head,” he said.

“To begin with it was, ‘This guy’s going to beat me’. And then as he gets closer, he steps into the ring and he feels like a god, like no-one can touch him.

“That kind of stuff is something you can relate to.”

A heavier boat is often deemed an advantage in the annual university battle between Putney and Mortlak, with Cambridge weighing in a massive 62.8kg heavier than Oxford.

But Oxford, who are lighter for the second consecutive year, are aiming to defy that logic again to maintain their recent stranglehold on the trophy.

Cambridge lead Oxford by 80 victories to 76 in the 183-year-old event, but have lost seven of the last 10 races.




I dreamt I was an angel

Descending from the sky,

I lived amongst the clouds

Way up high,

Now I was falling

So very fast,

Someone was calling

My name

I heard the echo

Ringing in my ears,

I didn’t want to know

I kept falling

Falling, faster,

Someone was still calling

When I landed

In the sea,

I saw mermaids

They all

Surrounded me,

Just bathing

And waving

In the bright blue sea,

I swam into a cave

And could not

Believe my eyes,

There was a mirror

In front of me

Very large in size,

Staring back at me

Was a mermaid

So beautiful was she,

I could not

Stop staring,

Then I realised it was me

Gillian Sims

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