In Depth

2019 Boat Race: course map, start times, where and how to watch, crews, fan parks, TV

Oxford and Cambridge will battle for victory on the gruelling 4.2-mile course

2019 Boat Race: Oxford vs. Cambridge
  • When: Sunday 7 April  
  • Where: River Thames, London (races start at Putney)
  • Race start times: Women’s Boat Race, 2.13pm; Men’s Boat Race, 3.10pm
  • TV coverage: live on the BBC

Two-time Olympic champion James Cracknell will make history this weekend by becoming the oldest rower ever to compete in the men’s Boat Race.

The 46-year-old has been selected for the Cambridge University crew that will face Oxford University in the 2019 men’s race on Sunday 7 April.

Cracknell, who studies a Master of Philosophy degree in human evolution at Cambridge, retired from rowing in 2004. He won gold in the 2000 and 2004 summer Olympic Games.

Speaking to the BBC, he said: “I’ve had to get back to being able to move in a rowing boat. I am seven years older than one of the guy’s dads. I stopped rowing in 2004 and haven’t rowed since. If I can make it onto the start line it will be the proudest thing I have done in rowing.”

Cambridge hold the lead

More than 250,000 spectators are expected to line the banks of the River Thames on Sunday for the 2019 Boat Races.

Oxford and Cambridge will go head to head in the women’s and men’s races which start at Putney in south-west London and continue for 4.2 miles down the Thames before finishing in Mortlake.

In 2018 Cambridge won the men’s race by three lengths and the women’s race by seven lengths. Cambridge hold an 83-80 lead over Oxford in the men’s Boat Race and a 43-30 lead in the women’s Boat Race.

Here we look at the history of the Boat Race, the past winners, this year’s crews and the latest betting odds.

2019 Boat Race guide

What time are the Oxford vs. Cambridge boat races?

The women’s race starts at 2.13pm and the men’s race takes place at 3.10pm.

The Boat Race course

Sunday’s race from Putney to Mortlake will cover a lung-bursting four miles and 374 yards (6.8km) – three times the distance of the longest Olympic race. In such circumstances the winner is likely to be whoever can endure the most physical punishment.

First used in 1845, the current Championship Course has been used every year apart from 1846, 1856 and 1863 when the race was held in the opposite direction between Mortlake and Putney.

The Fulham/Chiswick side of the course is known as the Middlesex side and the Putney/Barnes side is known as the Surrey side.

According to the official website the Boat Race is rowed upstream, but is timed to start on the incoming “flood” tide.

How much do the rowers train?

Crews train for a total of 1,200 hours in preparation for the 600-stroke Championship Course, meaning that two hours of effort lie behind each stroke.

How many spectators will watch the race?

It is predicted that more than 250,000 people will line the banks of the River Thames to watch the 165th Boat Race.

Fan parks and best places to watch 

Two fan parks will be open on Sunday - one at Bishop’s Park in Fulham and one at Wainwright. Bishop’s Park, open at 12pm, is located at the very start of the Boat Race while Wainwright is in the middle of the race at Furnivall Gardens, Hammersmith. Fans can enjoy big screen coverage of the races, street food, drinks and merchandise stalls.

Spectators wanting to watch the races from the river should head to the following locations: Putney Bridge, Craven Cottage, Putney Embankment, Barn Elms Boathouse, Thames Reach, Hammersmith Bridge, St. Paul’s School Boathouse, Chiswick Pier, The Emanuel School Boathouse or Dukes Meadow. See more details at

Course map

What’s the weather forecast for the Boat Race?

The BBC forecasts light cloud and a gentle breeze on Sunday with a temperature of 13C between 1pm and 5pm.

Which TV channel will show it?

The BBC will present live TV coverage of both races.  

2019 men’s blue boat crews

Crew averages (excluding Coxswain)
  • Oxford: height 194.6cm (6ft 4in); weight: 90kg (14st 2lbs) 
  • Cambridge: height 194.6cm (6ft 4in); weight: 89.8kg (14st 2lbs)
  • Oxford: Charlie Pearson (20 years old, 187cm, 84.3kg, British) 
  • Cambridge: Dave Bell (31 years old, 186cm, 84.5kg, British)
  • Oxford: Patrick Sullivan (23 years old, 202cm, 90.7kg, British) 
  • Cambridge: James Cracknell (46 years old, 193cm, 89.7kg, British)
  • Oxford: Achim Harzheim (26 years old, 192cm, 88.8kg, German) 
  • Cambridge: Grant Bitler (23 years old), 199cm, 95.8kg, American)
  • Oxford: Ben Landis (24 years old, 190cm, 86.1kg, German/American) 
  • Cambridge: Dara Alizadeh (25 years, 194cm, 91kg, Bermudian/British/American/Iranian)
No. 5
  • Oxford: Tobias Schroder (19 years old, 201cm, 98.7kg, British/Estonian) 
  • Cambridge: Callum Sullivan (19 years old, 195cm, 88.2kg, British)
  • Oxford: Felix Drinkall (19 years old, 197cm, 84.3kg, British) 
  • Cambridge: Sam Hookway (28 years old, 197cm, 89kg, Australian)
  • Oxford: Charlie Buchanan (22 years, 190cm, 78kg, British) 
  • Cambridge: Freddie Davidson (20 years old, 190cm, 85.8kg, British)
  • Oxford: Augustin Wambersie (23 years old, 193cm, 89.3kg, Belgian) 
  • Cambridge: Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk (24 years old, 203cm, 94.3kg, Polish)
  • Oxford: Toby de Mendonca (20 years old, 175cm, 55kg, British) 
  • Cambridge: Matthew Holland (21 years old, 169cm, 53.6kg, British)

2019 women’s blue boat crews

Crew averages (excluding Coxswain)
  • Oxford: height 177.1cm (5ft 10in); weight 71.1kg (11st 3lbs)
  • Cambridge: height 178.9cm (5ft 10in); weight 72.3kg (11st 5lbs)
  • Oxford: Isobel Dodds (22 years old, 172cm, 70.5kg, British) 
  • Cambridge: Tricia Smith (25 years old, 178cm, 69.9kg, British)
  • Oxford: Anna Murgatroyd (24 years old, 178cm, 69.9kg, British) 
  • Cambridge: Sophie Deans (22 years old, 175cm, 69.7kg, New Zealand/Australian)
  • Oxford: Renée Koolschijn (29 years old, 180cm, 73.8kg, Dutch) 
  • Cambridge: Laura Foster (20 years old, 185cm, 77.1kg, American)
  • Oxford: Lizzie Polgreen (30 years old, 168cm, 60.7kg, British) 
  • Cambridge: Larkin Sayre (24 years old, 173cm, 71.8kg, British/American)
  • Oxford: Tina Christmann (23 years old, 178cm, 72.2kg, German/Italian) 
  • Cambridge: Kate Horvat (23 years old, 185cm, 69.5kg, American)
  • Oxford: Beth Bridgman (21 years old, 176cm, 70.4kg, British) 
  • Cambridge: Pippa Whittaker (27 years old, 182cm, 74.1kg, British)
  • Oxford: Olivia Pryer (21 years old, 185cm, 77.3kg, British) 
  • Cambridge: Ida Gørtz Jacobsen (24 years old, 175cm, 71.9kg, Danish)
  • Oxford: Amelia Standing (19 years old, 180cm, 74kg, British) 
  • Cambridge: Lily Lindsay (22 years old, 179cm, 74.3kg, American/British)
  • Oxford: Eleanor Shearer (22 years old, 160cm, 47kg, British) 
  • Cambridge: Hugh Spaughton (20 years old, 165cm, 57kg, British/Japanese)

The history of the Boat Race

Devised by Charles Wordsworth and Charles Merivale, two former Harrovians studying at Oxford and Cambridge, the event first took place at Henley-on-Thames in 1829. Despite issuing the original challenge, Cambridge, dressed in pink rather than their contemporary light blue, lost the encounter by a heavy margin. 

The second race in the series, rowed between Westminster and Putney, didn’t take place until 1836 and for the next 25 years contests between the two universities were irregular. One obstacle to regular competition was disagreement over the race venue, with Oxford preferring Henley and Cambridge favouring central London.

The race became an annual event in 1856, and moved to the stretch of the river between Putney and Mortlake in 1864.

There’s mutiny afoot

The history of the race is not without internal discord. The Oxford camp split over the election of their president in 1959 when a group of disenchanted oarsmen pushed for the formation of two separate crews. The plan was for these two crews to race against each other for the right to represent the university in that year’s race. The mutiny was put down by Oxford’s college captains. Three of the dissidents returned to the team for the race, which Oxford went on to win by six lengths.

Another dispute, also in the Oxford team, came in 1987 when a number of international rowers withdrew in an argument over selection methods which they said were unfair. Despite the disruption Oxford went on to win once again – with a race-day crew filled out by reserves.   

Winner and losers

Cambridge hold the men’s Boat Race trophy after last year’s victory and have an 83-80 overall lead against Oxford. In the women’s Cambridge lead Oxford by 43-30 after the win in 2018.

Boat Race betting odds

The latest prices according to Oddschecker, as of 1 April 2019. 

Men’s race winner

  • Cambridge: 1/3 
  • Oxford: 9/4
  • Dead heat: 150/1


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