Concept

Head of the River Race

Résumé
The Head of the River Race (HORR) is an against-the-clock ('processional') rowing race held annually on the River Thames in London, England between eights, other such races being the Schools' Head of the River Race, Women's Head of the River Race and Veterans' Head of the River Race. Its competitors are, with a few experienced junior exceptions, seniors of UK or overseas competitors and it runs with the ebb tide down the 4.25 mile (6.8 km) Championship Course from Mortlake to Putney which hosts the Oxford and Cambridge head-to-head races usually between one and two weeks later. The race was founded on a much smaller scale, in 1925, by Steve Fairbairn – an influential rower then rowing coach of the early 20th century, who transformed the sport into one involving today's lengthier slides enabling conventional (Fairbairnized) racing shell propulsion. "My dear boy, you are under a wrong impression. It is not a race, it is merely a means of getting crews to do long rows" The race was founded by the rowing coach Steve Fairbairn who was a great believer in the importance of distance training over the winter. "Mileage makes champions" was one of Fairbairn's repeated phrases included in his four volumes on rowing coaching and in other correspondence. He devised the race while coaching at Thames Rowing Club to encourage this form of training and raise the standard of winter training among London clubs. He transformed the sport by introducing a full body and leg-drive catch and introducing sliding seats. A race proposal meeting followed between the captains of the metropolitan (i.e. London) clubs, who received the idea with great enthusiasm, and it was agreed that the first race would be held on Sunday 12 December 1926. Despite the choice of day of the week, the race went ahead with 23 entries (21 started) at a cost of 5s per crew (). "So far the ARA were slumbering in sweet ignorance of the horrible fact that racing was taking place on a Sunday.
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