Over 240 crews to take on London’s river marathon

More than 1,500 competitors, supporting over 30 charities, will take part in the 34th Great River Race on Saturday, 16 September


The crews will travel to London from the world including the United States and New Zealand!

Ayle of Quinte Skiffe Club, Canada Ayle of Quinte Skiffe Club, Canada

Notable visitors from overseas include Canada’s only skiff club, the Ayle of Quinte Skiffe Club in Prince Edward County, is sending a crew of 68-77 year olds, for whom the race will be the culmination of their May-September rowing season – after which their river freezes!

Almost 20 crews are coming from the Netherlands, including the youth crew from the Shipping and Transport School, Rotterdam. This crew are aged 17-24, and are mostly student maritime officers. The club has raced three times before, but not in recent times, with funding being a challenge – but this year sponsors have stepped in to enable the young crew to travel the 350 kilometres to London to race. These visitors supplement a strong youth contingent in this year’s race, with 20 Scout crews competing from across the UK.

Crews are racing in boats ranging from the traditional Salter’s Skiff Messing About, which is competing in its 20th Great River Race, to ‘super rafts’, such as the MadSat raft, competing for the third time.

The race, which runs from Millwall in East London to Ham, Richmond, covers 21.6 miles, through central London, and can be watched from viewing points along the course. It will also be possible to track crew progress can be tracked on the Great River Race website, using the Follow my Challenge app.

More about the Great River Race

The Great River Race is an event for traditional and traditional-style boats, powered by a minimum of four oars or paddles; sliding seats and riggers are now allowed. Each boat must be coxed and, in keeping with the Watermen’s role as the taxi drivers of the Thames, must carry a separate passenger. The fastest boat overall wins the Challenge Trophy of the Company of Watermen and Lightermen of the River Thames.


Many crews take part to raise money for charity, with over 30 charities being supported this year, including Coast Guard Foundation (US), Man Down Cornwall, The Halo Trust, The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Sports Lottery, Mayorla Charity, RNLI, Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre, de Droom van schalwijk (the Dream of Schalkwijk) (Netherlands), Stand Up To Cancer, Petersham and Ham Sea Scouts, BOSP, Neuroblastoma UK, Nelson Sailability, RNLI (Teignmouth), MS, 1st Cuddington (Warspite) Sea Scouts, Leander (Kingston) Sea Scouts, Jouke Huitema Foundation (Netherlands), Cruse Bereavement, Oakhaven Hospise, Geen (Netherlands), London Cornish Pilot Gig Club, Kids Matter, Mind, Hope and Homes for Children, The AHOY Centre, CRASH.