The Fuller’s Head of the River Fours, which takes place over the world famous 4 ¼ mile Championship course from Mortlake to Putney, returns to the River Thames in West London for the 58th time this weekend.
Demonstrating the truly inclusive nature of competitive rowing, the race includes men and women of all backgrounds and abilities, from across the UK, Europe and further afield.
Though many of the athletes who kept us glued to the TV with their performances at the 2012 Olympics are taking a well-deserved rest, there are a number of now familiar faces on show: Bronze Olympic Medallist Alan Campbell, starts in the number two crew for Tideway Scullers, while Silver Medallist Peter Chambers is rowing in the lightweight quads for Oxford Brookes University.
Mo Sbihi, who won a bronze medal in the GB men’s eight, is rowing for his home club Molesey Boat Club and a number of the GB women’s eight and quad are also taking part.
The Fuller’s Head of the River Fours has always provided a great opportunity to see up and coming talent in the sport (all of the 2012 GB international squad have previously taken part in the race on at least one occasion).
With an eye on Rio 2016, a large number of the 2012 Under 23 squad will be competing, along with just under half of the 2012 GB Junior squad and many of the UK’s top club, school and university rowers – all of whom will be hoping to win one of the 21 pennants on offer and a place at the HOR4s prize giving in the Fuller’s brewery in Chiswick.
It can take crews between 17 and 30 minutes to get down the course depending on weather, fitness and skill. The organisers and competitors all will be keeping their fingers crossed for good weather, to avoid a repeat of the last minute 2009 cancellation due to poor conditions.
Spectating along the whole course is free, the action will last a couple of hours and there are plenty of good viewing points from which to watch.
Stalls selling refreshments and rowing related goods will be located outside many of the local Tideway clubs, especially along Putney Embankment and near Hammersmith Bridge.
More details about the history of the race and a full start order are available on the event website at www.hor4s.org.uk