• About the Head of the River Race

    This race is open only to men's eights and is considered to be the culmination of the head racing season, attracting the top British crews and a large international contingency. The 4.25 mile (6.8km) race course is that of the famous Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race , but raced with the stream, from Mortlake to Putney along the river Thames.

    The race was founded by the rowing coach Steve Fairburn in 1926, who was a great believer in the importance of distance training over the winter ("Mileage makes champions" was a favourite phrase). He devised the race while coaching at Thames Rowing Club to encourage this form of training and raise the standard of winter training among London clubs.

    For more information, including how to enter a crew, please click here

  • About the course

    The Head of the River Race course is just one small part of the Tideway - the tidal stretch of the Thames that reaches down from Teddington Lock through central London to the open sea. For hundreds of years the Tideway has been the venue for great rowing events, including Dogett’s Coat and Badge, the oldest sculling race in the world, and the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race course.

    The tides that mark this stretch of the Thames mean that the line of the fastest stream varies according to the level of water in the river, as well as wind and weather. The bends in the river mean that different parts of the course are exposed to winds from different directions which adds further mystery to the unpredictable conditions. The Head of the River Race is generally held on the third or fourth weekend in March, about two hours after high tide. This means the crews will race with the stream, but against the flow of the tide, and the cox of each crew will spend many hours preparing to find the best course for race day.

  • Weather

    To view the current weather in London click here.