The Boat Race 2021 to be raced at Ely, Cambridgeshire

The Boat Race Company Limited (BRCL) today announced that The Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge will be held on the Great Ouse at Ely in April 2021. The event will see the 166th Men’s and the 75th Women’s boat races.

The decision to relocate the 2021 event reflects the challenge of planning a high-profile amateur event around continuing COVID related restrictions as well as uncertainty regarding the safety and navigation of Hammersmith Bridge. Following consultation with long-term partners in London, East Cambridge District Council, and the Environment Agency, we are delighted to have strong local support, enabling us to hold the world famous races in Ely.
BRCL is now working with local authorities to ensure a safe event for the local community, crews, and coaches, as well as the volunteers and contractors helping to stage the races.

We are encouraging the millions of Boat Race fans to get involved at home, enjoying the event on the BBC and respecting any restrictions that may be in place at the time.

Dr George Gilbert, Chair of BRCL’s Race and Operations Committee: “Everyone is facing significant challenges right now, especially students up and down the country. Organising sport safely and responsibly is our highest priority and moving The Boat Race to Ely in 2021 enables the event to go ahead in a secure environment. While we are sad not to be able to welcome the usual hundreds of thousands of spectators along the course, we will be inviting our communities and wider audience to get involved via our social media channels, and to enjoy the historic event on the BBC.”

CUBC’s Rowing and Management Board Chair, Simon Harris commented, “We look forward to welcoming the Oxford University boat clubs to our new boathouse to prepare for and race the 2021 Boat Races at Ely.  Our student athletes have continued to train hard and push themselves to achieve their own personal goals in incredibly difficult circumstances.  Living in a small room with a computer and rowing ergometer for company is very different to the student life that I recall.  Having taken the decision to race at Ely we can now focus our efforts in the knowledge that our boat clubs will get the opportunity to renew our rivalry and race in April.”

The Boat Race athletes have been training under strict COVID-19 guidelines laid down by British Rowing, University sports departments and the Government. The crews enjoyed two months on the water before the November lockdown in England. The student athletes then began training at home on their rowing machines, committed to gaining their place in one of the crews to race in April 2021.
We are grateful for the support of our partners Wainwright: Golden Beer, Chapel Down and the BBC to help us deliver The Boat Race in 2021.

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