women's eights head of the river race

Photo: Women's Eights Head of the River Race


(W) Women’s Eights Head of the River Race

🚣‍♀️🚣‍♂️ The stage is set on the River Thames for the 84th running of the Women’s Eights Head of the River Race, an iconic date in the rowing calendar.  Spectating is free.

NEWSFLASH: The 2024 Women’s Eights Head of the River Race is a wrap!  Check out our ROWING section here for more events coming up in or around London.

CONGRATULATIONS to Leander Club A who registered the fastest time of the day – 18:47.2 – to claim the Head Pennant ahead of Oxford Brookes University Boat Club A who came second in a time of 18:51.  Thames Rowing Club A finished in third place in 18:59.4 to take home the Club PennantCambridge University Boat Club claimed the University Pennant while Thames Rowing Club B were the Senior Pennant winnersHeadington School Oxford Boat Club A took home the School/Junior Pennant.  Stay tuned here for news of the 2025 Women’s Eights Head of the River Race as soon as its announced!


Founded in the 1930s with 5 crews participating, the Women’s Eights Head of the River Race has evolved to become the largest women’s rowing race in the world.  An annual event it attracts over 2,880 women racing and up to 320 crews taking part.

It is the only race in the UK where novices can compete in the same race as Olympic champions and as such attracts a wide range of rowers from clubs and universities.  This year’s race gets underway at 3.30pm at Chiswick Bridge in Mortlake.



Entries for the 2024 race were suspended a week before the deadline due to demand.  The earliest this has happened in the event’s history it speaks well of the state of domestic women’s rowing.

Head Pennant & University Pennant

Leander Club start first with a crew containing current GB squad athletes and must surely be favourites for the Head Pennant with the absence of a national squad composite crew this year.

Oxford Brookes University BC A starting two places behind them, contains Irish international Claire Feerick, with GB international Saskia Budgett rowing with University of London (4th).  Beijing
Olympic silver medallist Annie Vernon makes a return to the race this year in a Castle Dore/Dart Totnes composite starting 53rd.

There are only 5 crews entered in the Overseas Pennant this year, with last year’s winners not returning to defend their title. The competitors hail from Ireland, Sweden, Germany, and Spain with the Dublin-based composite starting in 85th.

Cambridge University (8th) are the highest starting competitor for the University Pennant and will be looking to show their dominance on the Championship Course ahead of the Boat Race later this month, but will face a challenge from the other contenders behind them, in particular Durham University (11th) who dominated the BUCS Head a couple of weeks ago.

Senior Pennant & Club Pennat

The Senior Pennant has grown again this year with 57 entries. Again, there is a roughly even split between clubs and universities in the highest starting Senior crews. Tyne Amateur RC (27th) took the Provincial Pennant last year and will be looking for a repeat win ahead of a tight band of challengers: City of Bristol (30th), Cantabrigian (31st), Nottingham RC (33rd) and Agecroft RC (35th).

Leander Club B (2nd) will be looking to defend the Club Pennant from Thames RC A starting in 5th, the latter club showing incredible strength in depth fielding no fewer than seven crews.  London RC (starting 20th) look to be a strong prospect for their last shot at the Medium Club Pennant.

The Small Club Pennant will not be defended by last year’s winners.  Derby RC (59th) and
Nottinghamshire County RA (80th) are the highest starting contenders.

Masters & Juniors

The Masters field is 34 crews strong this year, representing over 10% of the entries. They encompass nearly the full range of age groups, stretching from A through to G.  The oldest competitors are an 86-year-old cox and a 76-year-old rower.  The former checking in with us every year to ensure he retains the accolade!

Junior rowing continues to go from strength to strength with an increase to seven crews starting in the top 50 this year.  Headington School will be leading the charge from (19th) closely followed by Henley RC (21st).  Shiplake College (38th) lead off the other junior crews in the top 50, with the Scottish Argonauts starting two places behind them.  The bulk of the School/Junior category start at 254th.


🎟️ Spectating is free on the route.  The WEHoRR Committee are monitoring the weather to ensure conditions are safe to race.  Check the Facebook page here for updates.

🕞 Race starts at 3.30pm at Mortlake (Chiswick Bridge).

The fastest crew will take between 18 and 22 minutes to complete the course.  It takes approximately 2 hours from when the first crew passes the start in Mortlake to when the last crosses the finish in Putney.

🕞 Race finishes at 5.30pm in Putney.

🕞 Victory Ceremony for the Pennant winners on Putney Embankment (outside Thames Rowing Club) at 7.45pm.  Olympian Annamarie Phelps CBE, President of European Rowing, will present the prizes.  Camilla Hadland-Horrocks, the Olympic and Paralympic commentator, is compere for the evening.

🧐 Best viewing spots

A public towpath runs the length of the course meaning there is no shortage of good vantage points.

The best views of the race for spectators are generally either from Hammersmith Bridge or along Putney Embankment (south side of the river).  Both have excellent proximity to nearby restaurants and pubs.  Barnes Bridge also has a footbridge.  The flood wall along Lonsdale Road keeps the pavement dry at even the highest of tides.

Hammersmith Bridge

Spectators will congregate on the bridge, clustering around the famous ‘second lamp-post’ from the Surrey (south) side of the river.  This marks the point where the coxes should be aiming their crews as they pass underneath.  Many people arrive early to get one of the prime positions.  Alternatively, keep yourself warm in one of the pubs on the northern bank.  And then join the crowds as the crews start to row past.

Putney Embankment

The home to a fair number of tideway clubs, sees Putney Embankment as a hive of activity on race day.  With lots of visiting crews choosing to boat from here, the embankment bustles with kit and food stalls.  Many of the rowers will retire to either one of the rowing clubs’ bars or one of the nearby pubs after the race.  Putney embankment offers a clear view of the last two minutes of the race as the crews sprint for the line.


🚣‍♀️🚣‍♂️ Last but not least … 2024 Boat Race alert!!  The stage is set for Saturday 30 March, and 78th Women’s Boat Race and 169th Men’s Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge.  It takes place on the Championship Course from Putney to Chiswick.  Join some 250,000 spectators who will line the banks of the river!

👀 LOVE LIVE SPORT?  Visit our ‘What’s On’ page here for the No. 1 guide to spectator experiences coming up in LONDON.  And to ensure you don’t miss a moment of the action subscribe here to our free newsletter!