The Great River Race is an annual rowing race on London’s River Thames, sometimes known as the London River Marathon. The course is a grueling length of 21.6 miles and runs upriver from the Docklands area in the east to Ham in Richmond in the west. More than 300 traditional rowboats and the other type of rowing ships participate in the event, including Chinese dragon boats, Hawaiian war canoes, and Viking boats.
This year, we will be helping our friends at Arborist Direct to prepare for this great event, they are a renowned tree surgeon from Edinburgh and want to participate to create this year with the noble motive of raising awareness about COVID-19. Although sailing is our specialty, Jack has quite a bit of kayaking experience obtained during his years as a student at Edinburgh Napier University.
The event attracts competitors from all over the world. Many compete to win, but there are many – like our arborist friends – who participate for fun or to raise money for charity. They want to do it to thank all the support that their clients have given them during the pandemic. Clients who have not stopped calling them to take care of their trees and gardens. We have used their services and the past and our gardens always look amazing so we can recommend them.
Below we will leave some additional information about Great River Race for those who do not know it or want to know more about this important event.
The history of the event
The first race took place in 1988 when 72 participants jumped into the water in 20 boats representing six different countries. Competitors included young sea cadets, rowing veterans, and boating enthusiasts.
The event has now quadrupled in size and attracted a wide variety of craft including a replica of Bronze Age Greek cuisine and the world’s oldest racing rowboat dating back to the 19th century. The international event has attracted some stars along the way, including Sting and Jerry Hall, and is the most prestigious event of its kind in Europe.
Start: Docklands Sailing Center, Millwall Riverside, Westferry Road, London Docklands
Final: Ham House, Richmond
When it happens
This annual event takes place in September near the Mayor’s Thames Festival. The start time is usually around 10 a.m.
Where to look
Tower Bridge is one of the most popular spectator spots, so watching from London Bridge – the next bridge along the River Thames – is recommended.
Other popular bridges include:
- Richmond Bridge
- Hammersmith Bridge
- Wandsworth Bridge
- Battersea Bridge
- Westminster Bridge
In the next posts, we will explain how the experience of our tree-loving friends climbing trees for a living can give you an advantage in a competition of this type.