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Boats, breathlessness and and eh, goats: 7 reasons we secretly love The Boat Race

It’s terrific, Trenton.

Image: Anthony Devlin/PA Archive/Press Association Images

BEFORE 4.30PM THIS afternoon, the great and the good of high society in England will gather to watch the athletic fruits of their beloved academical institutions stroke it out on the Thames.

Yes, today marks the 159th Boat Race between those two storied franchises; Oxford and Cambridge.

Okay, so the annual cox-throw by the winners is a little contrived, but it brings the curtain down on one of the better sideshows to the sporting year. So whether we admit it or not, we all enjoy the spectacle of it all, here’s seven reasons why it’s our guilty pleasure this Easter Sunday.

7. Shur where else would you get it?

It’s 6.8km of river that we’d otherwise never see – bar the opening credits of Eastenders, maybe.

YouTube credit: ForeverEastEnders

6. It’s competitive sport.

Manchester United are on a victory lap in the Premier League, the GAA season is still firmly in the ‘building for the championship’ stage so if you want to watch athletes at the apex of their competitive year, this is the place.

Anthony Devlin/PA Archive/Press Association Images

5. A ‘pitch invasion’ takes real effort.

It’s not as easy putting on a kilt or taking off all your clothes. To disrupt this race you gotta plan ahead.

YouTube credit: 40thegardener2

4. Pedigree.

Whatever Trenton Oldfield says, this is an event that’s increasingly less about the  blazer and deck shoe brigade and more about elitism in an athletic sense.

These lads aren’t just some happy-go-luck undergrads who enjoy the temporary adulation of representing the school. They’re supremely talented rowers from across the globe.

Oxford’s Malcolm Howard has won Olympic gold and silver medals for Canada. He’s just one of four competitors on view today who can claim to be an Olympian, the others could well join them in three year’s time.

Lewis Whyld/PA Archive/Press Association Images

3. It’s tradition, innit.

Here’s the Oxford team in 1906. Haven’t changed a bit. S&G/S&G and Barratts/EMPICS Sport

2. Competitors give it everything.

With the race extended last year owing to the restart, Oxford’s Dr Alexander Wood ended the race unconscious from the exertion. Commitment.

Anthony Devlin/PA Archive/Press Association Images

1. It inspired this worthy adversary…

Image credit: TheGoatRace.org

As an alternative to the protein shakes and shouting coxswains, The Goat Race is now in its 5th year in Spitalfields City Farm.

It’s probably too late for you to cross the sea for it now, but seeing as you now want to go next Easter, proceeds go back to the host venue.

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