Educational Race

By Marleen de Rooy

Saturday the 26th of March 2011.

For the 157th time Cambridge and Oxford competed against each other on the waters of London. This year more than 250.000 people have watched the annual rowing race on the Banks of the Thames and tens of millions worldwide watched it live on television.

The ancient old rowing tradition came from two friends: Charles Merviale (Cambridge student) and Charles Wordsworth  ( Oxford student). 

The very first challenge was sent to Oxford by Cambridge in 1829. That first boat race took place in Oxfordshire and was won by Oxford. The race had an immediate attraction to the public. Local newspapers reported that over 20.000 people came to watch the race: a tradition was born. From then on the races took place at Westminster in London, but quickly they had to move because the event became too crowded and there was not enough space. They moved six miles up the river in the area of Putney, where the race still is.

Every year the loser of the previous year’s race, challenges the opposition to a re-match. In 2010 Cambridge won with 17 minutes and 35 seconds. This year Oxford beat them with 17 minutes and 32 seconds.

A close call: Cambridge now has won 80 races against Oxfords’75.

Our reporter Marleen de Rooy stood in the crowd to have a look at the finish line.

The Oxford-Cambridge Boat race is perhaps the world’s best known sporting rivalry between educational institutions.
But there are other traditional college sports rivalries in the world:

–          Eton v Harrow

The oldest cricket match was first played in 1805. Every year the two public schools meet. The past eight years the match was won by Harrow.

–          The Battle of Boston

Boston University and Boston College clash every year with their ice hockey teams. The match is played in three games a year, each of them drawing more than 60,000 people. This rivalry is also called the green line rivalry.

–          Tolstoy Cup

A football match between Peace and War. London’s Kings College war studies department plays against the Peace studies department of University of Bradford.  The match, that has been played since 1995, is has almost always being won by War Studies FC. But last year the Peace studies made their first comeback ever.

–          Chulalongkorn v Thammasat

This annual football match, played in Thailand, is more a spectacle than an actual game. Two of the most prestigious universities in Bangkok clash in a football match that is played not only by students, but also by alumni.

–          Battle of the Maroons

Two elite schools in Sri Lanka organize an annual cricket match. The game was first played in 1924 and was last played this month. The event is massively popular in Sri Lanka.

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Published in: on March 28, 2011 at 10:44 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Wow! Exciting! I wish I was there… but your report drags me right into it!!

  2. Cool! Thanks for the tip!


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