The Great
River Race


Entries are now closed, having reached our maximum number of boats. A waiting list has now opened.

What is the Great River Race?

The Great River Race is London’s River Marathon. It’s a spectacular boat race covering 21.6 miles from Millwall in the East to Richmond in the West, travelling under London’s famous bridges. It appeals to every level of competitor, from dedicated athletes who come every year to beat their records to those who simply enjoy laughter, fancy dress and making money for their charity. It’s a great fun day out for both competitors and spectators.

It started in 1988 with 61 boats crewed by a bunch of enthusiasts ranging from young scouts to hardened offshore rowing veterans coming from diverse organisations such as rowing clubs, pubs, schools, boating societies and the armed services. It now has around 300 crews taking part and is an international event with competitors from America, Australia, and many European countries.

This is a race for ‘fixed seat’ only craft and a large variety of boats take part including the traditional Thames Watermen’s Cutters.  The race is based on the Watermen principle and so each crew must carry a passenger and cox along with a 3’ x 2’ flag. A handicapping system is used to ensure fair play.

The Great River Race is now a charitable trust run by volunteers and with over 2,500 competitors competing for 37 trophies, it has become the biggest and most prestigious event of its kind in Europe.

Thames Festival Trust

The Great River Race is partnered with the Thames Festival Trust







Who can take part?

Scouts rowing in last year's race

Adult, Junior and Disabled competitors are invited to take part. There are Junior categories for under 14, 16 and 18 crews and Veteran categories for V40+ and V60+. The Junior crews must have a responsible adult, 18 or over in the boat as either the cox or passenger. You must decide if you are entering age related classes before filling in the Entry Form because this affects your invoice. Juniors have a discounted rate.

Mixed crews must have a minimum of 50% women rowing to be eligible for mixed class trophies. Crews with fewer than 50% women rowing will be classified as Men. In all classes the cox and / or passenger may change places with a rowing crew member as long as they adhere to the gender or age restrictions of that class.

Want to watch?

The event attracts thousands of spectators along the route every year. If you want to join the crowds and witness one of London’s finest sporting spectacles use the link below to find out where to view from.

Engage Your Visitors!

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How to enter?

Know your boat details before going to the Entry Form. What is the name of the boat and what type of boat is it? Perhaps it’s in this Boat Type list. If your boat is not on this list then please provide a type-name that you consider the most appropriate. If it has not entered the GRR since 2009 and therefore unlikely to be on our database you might have to complete a Measurement Form.

Look at the Trophies & Entry Classes information to choose the 3 classes that your crew would like to enter.

Secure your crew members. Please don’t enter lots of boats hoping you will be able to crew them. The number of boats taking part will be restricted and so we won’t be offering full refunds to anyone who withdraws later.

Your boat will have to carry public liability insurance for £5million. Normally it will be covered by your Club insurance but if you are entering privately our partner organisation, broker Chris Moon, will provide ‘on the day’ insurance at a cost of about £60 to £70 per crew. Contact Remember you will have to sign at the Registration Desk on race day to confirm you have such public liability insurance in place.

ENTRY FORM. Now you have all your information – go for it! On our receipt of your form you will be emailed a Paypal Invoice for the entry. Please remember your entry will only be registered once your invoice has been paid. With a limited number taking part in the event outstanding invoices could mean that your entry will have to be removed to make room for another entry. Please be sure to pay your invoice by the date shown on it.

Entry costs £75 for each adult including the cox and passenger and £54 for under 18s. A Paypal invoice will be emailed to you when your Entry form has been received. A non-refundable deposit of £100 for each boat will be payable within 3 weeks of receiving the Paypal invoice  and the balance due by the 15th of August. Entries will only be confirmed on receipt of full payment and please be aware that entries  that remain unpaid by the 15th of August will be replaced by crews on the waiting list.

How to get your boat to the start

There are 4 options:


Boats can be launched at Millwall on the day before and there will be security overnight. Some trolleys will be available but you need your own manpower to launch your boat. Parking is available at the next door Westferry Print Works car park but you must register with Millwall Parking to use this.

South Dock Marina

Usually for boats in excess of 8 metres. You can book directly with South Dock Marina to be craned in on the Thursday
and you will be given a time on the Friday when your boat can be locked out and you can row across to the Start at Millwall where you
can leave your boat overnight . You should take your trailer to the car park at Ham on Thursday so that it is in place for your boat retrieval after the race. Remember to book Parking at Ham and a Crane out at Ham as well as the Crane in at South Dock Marina.  0207 252 2244.

Ham, Richmond

All boats put into the water here will be rafted up and then towed in the very early hours of Saturday morning to the start. You can launch your own boat at Ham or have it craned in on Friday afternoon. There is also an option to be craned out after the race. There is a charge for towing and craning. You can leave your vehicles and trailers at the nearby car park but again you must register to get a permit. There is security from 8am Friday to 8pm on Sunday but note that the car park is closed each night at 8pm. Forms for towing, craning and parking requests are available under the Services & Forms tab.


You can launch at the slipway at Poplar Rowing Club and row to the start at Millwall.
There is no parking available at Poplar and you must be sure to register at Millwall on the morning of the race. There is drop off parking available at Westferry Printworks to allow this to happen.

Accommodation & bus transfer

The GRR has partners who provide these services so please do note their contact details. The GRR office won’t be able to help you with these enquiries.

The campsite

Caters for tents and caravans and is a few minutes’ walk from the finish at Ham. Check out the Campsite Form.

Hotel accommodation

There is a selection of different hotels available. More information can be found on the Hotel Accommodation Form.

Transfer bus

There is a bus on Saturday to take competitors from the camp site or their hotel to the start of the race at Millwall. There is a charge for this and this must be booked in advance.