Team Margot was "OARsome" at the one and only Great River Race.
The Great River Race, "the one they all want to win", has firmly established itself in the sporting calendar to such an extent that experienced crews describe it as a classic event. With its intriguing mix of colour, spectacle, intense competition and casual fun, it combines all the ingredients that made London's 'other' marathon such a success; but with the addition of dozens of great photo opportunities as the race progresses from the striking Docklands skyline at the start, through central London until it reaches its semi-rural Surrey conclusion.
The first Great River race in 1988 race consisted of 72 entrants in 20 boats ranging from hardy rowers to scouts from many parts of the globe. Now the race boasts well over 300 boats carrying approx. 2,400 crew; The Great River Race has become the biggest and most prestigious event of its kind in Europe.
The anticipation, excitement and nerves were at their highest when 2 highly motivated teams made their way from their cosy South West London homes to London Docklands early on this historic early Saturday morning, packed with just the bare essentials - flapjack, water and those quite revolting energy packs - the mood was sombre and none of the crew knew really what to expect apart from we all knew it was about to be 21 gruelling miles from London Docklands to Richmond.
Both teams had been put together organised and managed by the fearless, enthusiastic Martin Beaumont, whose energy, commitment and generosity one can only stand back and admire. Yes, we had done a little bit of training and some of us had rowed together on the Thames but we were far from experts.
There were 2 races! The official Great River race and the other one containing a 24ft Lord Beefington Celtic longboat skippered by that Martin fellow and off coarse the amazing 000....PS skippered by the well-known around the world oars person, Emma!
000....PS crew smugly skipped down a pontoon. When I say skipped I mean skipped – we were (not quite sure why!) all wearing pinky leggings things, pink sweatbands and pink everything. We did look a sight ( feet in dry pristine condition )to mount our chariot and with a bit of messing about the oars were in place, the TEAM MARGOT flags were up and we were ready to go.
Lord Beefington crew - boys dressed in these ghastly muscle man tee shirts and girls in bay watch attire. Stomped through thick mud and after much faffing were on their way again TEAM MARGOT flag flying.
The scene of the first half of the race was just amazing. Picture for a second 200 boats all shapes and sizes with the backdrop of the city of London, Tower Bridge, the Walki Talki, the Shard and Houses of Parliament.