The Annual Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race
This year, the Boat Race takes place on the 24th March 2018, marking 189 years of racing history.
The boat race came about between two friends, Charles Wordsworth of Oxford and Charles Merivale of Cambridge, when on vacation in Cambridge, the two friends set up a challenge.
Following this, on the 10th February 1829, a message was sent from a Mr Snow of Cambridge to Mr Staniforth of Oxford stating, ‘that the University of Cambridge hereby challenge the University of Oxford to row a match at or near London, each in an eight-oared boat during the ensuing Easter vacation.’
The first mens race took place on 10 June 1829 at Henley on the Thames, Oxford winning easily, for the next 25 years contests only happened on an irregular basis.
It has been held every year since 1856, except during the First and Second World Wars. Cancer Research UK has been the races' official charity since 2016.
The women’s race first happened in 1927 and has been held annually since 1964. It was decided in 2015 that both the men and women races would take place on the same day.
The course covers a 4.2-mile stretch of the Thames in West London, from Putney to Mortlake. Both teams are known as blues and each boat as a "Blue Boat", with Cambridge in light blue and Oxford in dark blue. As of 2017, Cambridge has won the men's race 82 times and Oxford 80 times, with one dead heat.