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The 154th Boat Race took place on 29 March 2008. Held annually, the event is a side-by-side rowing race between crews from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge along the River Thames. Oxford won the race.[1] Oxford's crew featured the oldest competitor in Boat Race history. The race took place in very difficult weather conditions – strong winds and heavy rain – resulting in the slowest winning time in over sixty years. Oxford won by six lengths, the largest margin of victory since the 2004 race.

154th Boat Race
University Boat Race 2008 (2371575641).jpg
Oxford celebrate winning the 154th Boat Race
Date29 March 2009 (2009-03-29)
WinnerOxford
Margin of victory6 lengths
Winning time20 minutes 53 seconds
Overall record
(Cambridge–Oxford)
79–74
UmpireJohn Garrett
(Oxford)
Other races
Reserve winnerIsis
Women's winnerOxford

Oxford's Isis beat Cambridge's Goldie in the reserve race, while Oxford won the Women's Boat Race.

BackgroundEdit

The Boat Race is a side-by-side rowing competition between the University of Oxford (sometimes referred to as the "Dark Blues")[2] and the University of Cambridge (sometimes referred to as the "Light Blues").[2] First held in 1829, the race takes place on the 4.2-mile (6.8 km) Championship Course on the River Thames in southwest London.[3] The rivalry is a major point of honour between the two universities and followed throughout the United Kingdom and broadcast worldwide.[4][5] Cambridge went into the race as reigning champions, having beaten Oxford by over a length in the previous year's race and the overall lead, with 79 victories to Oxford's 73 (excluding the "dead heat" of 1877).[6][7] The race was sponsored by Xchanging for the fourth time.[8]

The first Women's Boat Race took place in 1927, but did not become an annual fixture until the 1960s. Until 2014, the contest was conducted as part of the Henley Boat Races, but as of the 2015 race, it is held on the River Thames, on the same day as the men's main and reserve races.[9] The reserve race, contested between Oxford's Isis boat and Cambridge's Goldie boat has been held since 1965. It usually takes place on the Tideway, prior to the main Boat Race.[6]

CrewsEdit

Oxford's crew weighed an average of 12 pounds (5.4 kg) more per rower than their opponents,[10] and featured the oldest competitor in Boat Race history in 36-year-old American Mike Wherley.[11] Cambridge crew consisted of six Britons, two Australians and an American, while Oxford's comprised four Americans, three Britons, an Australian and a German.[10] Both coxes, Nick Brodie and Rebecca Dowbiggin, were former Blues, while Cambridge also saw 30-year-old Tom Edwards return, having rowed in 2006.[10] Cambridge's boat club president Dan O'Shaughnessy was the seventh Light Blue president not to row in his own Blue Boat.[12]

 
Tom Ransley (pictured in 2012) rowed at number 6 for Cambridge.
Seat Oxford
 
Cambridge
 
Name Nationality Age Weight Name Nationality Age Weight
Bow Jan Herzog German 33 14 st 4 lb Colin Scott British 22 13 st 8 lb
2 Toby Medaris Australian 23 16 st 2 lb Tim Perkins Australian 29 15 st 0 lb
3 Ben Smith British 21 15 st 6 lb Henry Pelly British 24 13 st 13 lb
4 Aaron Marcovy American 24 16 st 1 lb Tobias Garnett British 24 14 st 10 lb
5 Mike Wherley American 36 15 st 8 lb Peter Marsland British 23 16 st 0 lb
6 Oliver Moore British 22 15 st 14 lb Tom Ransley British 22 15 st 11 lb
7 Charles Cole American 21 15 st 2 lb Tom Edwards Australian 30 13 st 12 lb
Stroke Will England American 22 15 st 5 lb Ryan Monaghan   American 23 15 st 3 lb
Cox Nick Brodie (P) British 21 8 st 6 lb Rebecca Dowbiggin British 24 7 st 10 lb
Source:[10]
(P) – boat club president
  – Monaghan replaced Shane O' Mara due to illness, three days before the race.[13]

RaceEdit

 
The Oxford boat passing the finishing post

Oxford were pre-race favourites, but Cambridge won the toss and elected to start from the Surrey station.[14] Oxford took an early lead,[15] but the boats closed on each other, and the umpire John Garrett was forced to issue a number of warnings to both coxes in an attempt to prevent a collision. By Craven Cottage, Oxford were nearly a length ahead and Cambridge responded; by the time the crews passed under Hammersmith Bridge they were level. Along Chiswick Eyot Oxford moved ahead once again, and were clear of Cambridge after 30 strokes. Oxford extended their lead to pass the finishing post in 20 minutes 53 seconds, six lengths and 22 seconds ahead of their opponents.[14] Driving rain, strong winds and choppy water resulted in the slowest winning time for over sixty years,[15] but the largest margin of victory since the 2004 race.[6]

Oxford's Isis beat Cambridge's Goldie by three-and-a-quarter lengths in the reserve race.[6] Oxford won the 44th running of the Women's Boat Race by half a length.[6]

ReactionEdit

 
Oxford cox, Nick Brodie, is thrown into the River Thames as part of the celebrations.

Oxford's Oliver Moore said "we got the rage going in the crew, and we started to kill it, we hit an awesome rhythm".[14] Cambridge coach Duncan Holland congratulated his opponents: "Well done to Oxford, they were much faster on the day".[14] Following tradition, the victorious Oxford crew tossed their cox Brodie into the Thames.[16]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Oxford power to Boat Race victory". BBC Sport. 29 March 2008. Archived from the original on 3 April 2008. Retrieved 20 April 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  2. ^ a b "Dark Blues aim to punch above their weight". The Observer. 6 April 2003. Archived from the original on 11 September 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  3. ^ Smith, Oliver (25 March 2014). "University Boat Race 2014: spectators' guide". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 1 July 2014. Retrieved 3 June 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  4. ^ "Former Winnipegger in winning Oxford–Cambridge Boat Race crew". CBC News. 6 April 2014. Archived from the original on 24 September 2014. Retrieved 7 April 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  5. ^ "TV and radio". The Boat Race Company Limited. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Boat Race – Results". The Boat Race Company Limited. Archived from the original on 12 July 2016. Retrieved 26 June 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  7. ^ "Classic moments – the 1877 dead heat". The Boat Race Company Limited. Archived from the original on 26 October 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  8. ^ "Xchanging continue to Sponsor the Boat Race". Xchanging. 11 September 2007. Archived from the original on 27 July 2014. Retrieved 16 July 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  9. ^ "A brief history of the Women's Boat Race". The Boat Race Company Limited. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
  10. ^ a b c d Quarrell, Rachel (28 March 2008). "The Boat Race: Oxford ponder weighty matters". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 8 October 2014. Retrieved 26 June 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  11. ^ Sawer, Patrick (29 March 2008). "Boat race rivals prepare to battle crosswind". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 8 October 2014. Retrieved 26 June 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  12. ^ Quarrell, Rachel (25 March 2008). "Presidents forgo paddles in the Boat Race". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 28 February 2014. Retrieved 30 September 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  13. ^ Quarrell, Rachel (27 March 2008). "Cambridge lose Shane O'Mara to illness". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 26 June 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  14. ^ a b c d Quarrell, Rachel (30 March 2008). "Boat Race row rage wins day for Oxford". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 26 September 2015. Retrieved 27 June 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  15. ^ a b "Oxford sink Cambridge in University Boat Race". The Daily Telegraph. 29 March 2008. Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  16. ^ "Oxford topples Cambridge in 154th Boat Race". CBC News. 29 March 2008. Retrieved 27 June 2014.

External linksEdit