27 March 2005 at 15.00
The boat race started in 1829, and has now become a legendary sporting event. The race itself lasts no more than about 20 minutes but attracts an enormous number of spectators both along the banks of the Thames and on television. The two universities row against one another for just over 4 miles from Putney to Mortlake. There are many good vantage points from which to watch the race but Hammersmith and Chiswick are considered the best. The idea for a rowing race between the two universities came from Charles Merivale, a student at Cambridge, and his Harrow schoolfriend Charles Wordsworth (nephew of the poet William Wordsworth), who was at Oxford. On 12 March 1829, Cambridge officially challenged Oxford and the tradition began and has continued to the present day. The current Course Record is 16 mins 19 secs - set by Cambridge in 1998.