Issue date: 03 April 2014
On Saturday 26 April 2014 Bristol's floating harbour will once again play host to the annual Varsity Boat Race that pits UWE Bristol against neighbours the University of Bristol.
Inaugurated in 1995, the event celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, a milestone that promises the biggest and best event yet. The Boat Race is the oldest and most prestigious of the flagship events of the two Universities' Varsity Series that runs from February and culminates in May.
Raced from Hotwells to the heart of the city, the 1300 metre sprint is always a thrilling showcase of side-by-side boat racing at its best. With a series of races throughout the day, the University of Bristol Boat Club will be trying to wrestle the Varsity Challenge Cup and Blade from the hands of the current holders, UWE Bristol.
Bristol overall leads the Varsity Boat Race with 12 wins to 7 for UWE Bristol. A highlight of the sporting calendar for both teams and current students, the Varsity Series is an exciting and enjoyable mix of good natured rivalry and competition. This year, the Boat Race welcomes Southern Lights IT Recruitment as proud title sponsors of the 20th Anniversary Varsity Boat Race.
To celebrate the Varsity Boat Race's 20th Anniversary, a new mixed veterans race will be introduced to the schedule of races. Ex-UWE and ex-Bristol University boat club members who established the Varsity Race have been invited back to compete.
The race schedule is as follows:
11:00 – Race 1: The Eleanor Rose Ellis Novice Men's 1 8+ *
11:20 – Race 2: UWE Lightweight 1st 8+ vs Bristol Alumni 8+
11:40 – Race 3: Novice Women 1st 8+ *
11:50 – Race 4: Alumni Men 1st 8+
12:10 – Race 5: Alumni Women 1st 8+
13:30 – Race 6: Senior Men 2nd 8+
13:50 – Race 7: Veteran Mixed 1st 8+
14:10 – Race 8: Senior Women's 1st 8+ * Race Sponsored by Movement Digital Ltd
14:30 – Race 9: Senior Men's 1st 8+ *
16:00 Presentation at Olive Shed
*Count towards the Varsity Blade
The Boat Race presentation will be presented by Mark Hunter (MBE) at the Olive Shed Restaurant, which boasts iconic views of Bristol's Harbourside and is the ideal setting to watch the races on the day.
Mark Hunter raced in the lightweight double scull with Zac Purchase at the 2012 London Olympics and the GB duo were pipped to the line by Denmark and took a silver medal. Mark also won Britain's historic first lightweight gold medal at the Olympics in 2008 and in 2011 Mark was named rowing's Olympic Athlete of the Year in 2011.
Charity is at the very heart of the series, the two charities selected for this year's Varsity Series are Creative Youth Network who encourage young people to challenge the barriers they face by engaging with the arts and Off The Record, a Bristol based charity who focus on the mental health and well-being of children and young people aged between 11-25.
For a guide to all the events happening during Varsity Series 2014 please see the Varsity Series website.