While March Madness rages on this side of the pond, the UK is gearing up for a very different, quintessentially British sporting event steeped in tradition. On Sunday, the men’s and women’s rowing clubs from Oxford and Cambridge Universities will take to the River Thames for a four mile race to benefit Cancer Research UK. The race took place for the first time as far back as 1829, with Oxford taking home the glory. 2017 marks the 163rd race between the men’s clubs and the 72nd between women, who first faced off in 1927.
More than just a contest between two schools, the race draws large crowds, inspires rowdy celebrations at pubs along the river and attracts involvement from big companies. BNY Mellon and Newton Investment Management helps raise money for Cancer Research UK as a sponsor of the event, and Hunter—yes, the rain boots—partnered with the charity to create official team “wellies” for the occasion.
Time Out London reports that up to 300,000 people are expected to turn out on Sunday, and like all the best events, part of the draw is the possibility that something unexpected might happen—there have been six instances of boats sinking over the years, but with modern technology, that’s highly unlikely this weekend.
The race can be viewed live on the BBC website.