How it operates

The race is held under British Rowing Rules of Racing and entry is made on line via BROE.

There is a rolling start with boats set off at approximately 1-minute intervals.

In allocating start positions, we will endeavour to start slower categories earlier so that all crews finish within a reasonable time frame, but we will also take account of feedback from previous years in which crews have expressed a wish to start with similar category crews to enhance the racing.

Detailed race instructions will be sent to competitors with the draw.

The course

great ouse marathon course mapThe race passes through the rural Fens of Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.

The course is approximately 21.5km. Boats launch at West Norfolk Rowing Club, which is about 400m from the start. The finish is 100m before Queen Adelaide bridge on the road between Ely and Prickwillow.

It is then a gentle warm-down paddle of 1.5km to the landing stage at Isle of Ely Rowing Club for some welcome refreshments.

The course is upstream, but at the time of year the race is held there is very little current. The river is wide, with plenty of room for overtaking and only gentle bends. It is crossed by just 3 bridges which affect navigation, and which have safety marshals in attendance.

Littleport bridge signals 5km to go. This part of the course is a famous piece of wide, straight, river, previously featured in Rowing and Regatta magazine as one of the 10 best places to row in the world.