The Head of the River Race (HoRR) was founded by Steve Fairbairn, the Cambridge and Tideway oarsman, in order to give crews something to aim for at the end of the winter training period.
It is rowed over the 4¼ mile Thames Championship Course from Mortlake to Putney (i.e. the Boat Race course in reverse) and is usually held on the third or fourth Saturday in March, depending on the tides.
What started as an event for Tideway crews has grown steadily until it now attracts crews from all over the British Isles and beyond.
The largest non- British contingent is usually from Germany but, over the years, crews have come from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA.
The race is processional; that is, crews start one behind the other at 10-second intervals, the winner being the crew which returns the fastest time. The previous year’s winner starts first, followed by the other finishers in time order and then by new entries in alphabetical order within their classifications.