Bristol’s floating harbour will once again play host to the Annual Varsity Boat Race, in a day of fierce competition which pits the University of Bristol against the University of the West of England (UWE).
The boat race is the oldest and most prestigious of the Varsity Series, which sees the two universities go head to head in a number of sports events between February and May each year.
Inaugurated in 1995, the Boat Race celebrates its 20th anniversary this year – a milestone that promises the biggest and best event yet. This includes the introduction of a new mixed veterans’ race that will see former boat club members from both universities battle it out once more.
From the Cottage Inn to the Arnolfini, the 1,300m sprint is a thrilling showcase of side-by-side boat racing, attracting hundreds of spectators to cheer on the competitors.
With a variety of races throughout the day, the University of Bristol Boat Club will be looking to win the Varsity Challenge Cup and Blade from current champions UWE Boat Club.
The Boat Race presentation will be made by Mark Hunter MBE at the Olive Shed restaurant.
Mark Hunter won silver with Zac Purchase in the lightweight double scull at the London Olympics in 2012. He also won Britain’s first lightweight gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and was named rowing’s Olympic Athlete of the Year in 2011.
Hannah Pollack, Vice President for Sport and Health at UBU said: “The Boat Race is one of my favourite Varsity events – the atmosphere on the Harbourside is always electric.
“The current overall score is very close, so both teams will be going all out to secure a victory. Both club captains and the two students’ unions have been putting in lots of hard work to make the event a success.”
All Varsity events raise money for local charities. This year, the Varsity Series is supporting two charities – Off The Record, who work across Bristol focusing on the mental health and emotional well-being of young people and the Creative Youth Network, a Kingswood-based charity that offers young people the opportunity to transform themselves through the arts.