London's river marathon, the Great River Race, takes place today as over 300 crews from all over the globe row 21 miles from London Docklands to Ham in Surrey to find the UK Traditional Boat Champions.
From its debut in 1988, The Great River Race now has firmly established itself in the sporting calendar to such an extent that experienced crews describe it as a classic event - the one they all want to win.
It's a spectacular boat race that brings together serious sportsmen as well as those who enjoy fancy dress and charity stunts.
Gold Medal rower Sophie Hosking and Silver Medallist Rob Williams will be aboard the Royal Rowbarge Gloriana as it precedes the leading boats of The Jubilee Great River Race on the final stretch from Richmond to the Finish at Ham.
Gloriana, glittering star of the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic Torch Relay, will be rowed by youngsters supported by The Rowing Foundation, the Race's official charity. It will pass through Richmond Bridge at 12.30pm before mooring up opposite the finish, below Ham House, in time to greet the winner of London's 25th River Marathon.
The boats will be propelled by more than 2,400 enthusiastic out-and-out regular racers and leisure rowers, ranging from Scouts to dragon boat champions.
Among them will be another Olympic Silver Medal winner, Mark Hunter, racing in an unfamiliar Thames Waterman Cutter carrying the Lady Mayoress of London, Liz Wootton, as passenger. Two colourful and spectacular Maltese dghajjes, just arrived from Valetta and competing for the first time, are also likely to attract a great deal of attention.
The Jubilee Great River Race starts from the Millwall Slipway, opposite the Docklands Sailing Centre, Westferry Road E14 3QS at 10.45 hours on Saturday, September 15, with boats leaving on handicap for an hour. A winner is expected at Ham Riverside, below Ham House, Richmond at about 13.40 hours, with approximate intermediate bridge timings as follows: Tower - 11.15; Millennium - 11.20; Westminster - 11.30; Lambeth - 11.35; Battersea - 11.45; Wandsworth - 12.00; Putney - 12.05; Hammersmith - 12.20; Chiswick - 12.50; Kew - 13.05 and Richmond - 13.35