For me, I'm not sure it was ever about the trophy.... more about what the trophy represented that I still treasure: shared experiences, lifelong friendships, an exploration of my physical and mental capabilities, belonging to a unique team who have been through incredible highs and lows together, in order to prepare to be our best when we lined up to race The Boat Race.
It’s not about that trophy. But the trophy is a symbol of the most intense months of effort, fatigue, of competition to win a seat. Of the hours of forging a common way to move the boat faster. Of determined training battles, the pain of pushing beyond, and the lessons learned along the way. Most of all it's the embodiment of head to head competition that requires everything and can end in nothing. In years to come the trophy also becomes about friendships within and across the blues, common cause and history.
When I see The Boat Race Trophy, I’m not so much reminded of winning the race or the rivalry between Oxford and Cambridge. I’m reminded of the hours I spent training with my teammates, sessions alone in the gym after school, early morning bike rides to the train, late nights completing homework assignments, and weekends spent out at Ely. I’m reminded of all the effort it took to be successful on the Thames that day, and I can’t help but be thankful for the challenge and everyone who helped me and CUBC along the way.
When I arrived in Cambridge, the women's trophies had only dark blue ribbons, I am incredibly proud to see that we started a light blue ribbons legacy. They represent way more than winning or losing but an entire club. Who thought that the trophies could contain an entire magnum of Champagne?
In 2015 I stood to the side of the boat race podium at Mortlake, watching Oxford lift the Women's Trophy for the first time on the Tideway. Fortunately, in 2017 I returned to London to help paint the Thames light blue and raise the trophy alongside my fantastic Cambridge crewmates. Irrelevant of who wins though, the trophy symbolises balance, equality and diversity in sport - things that I'm proud to have been a small part of during my time.
To me the trophy captures all the elements of what it means to take part in this historic race, workmanship, dedication and teamwork. The trophy's elegant form, created by so many skilled individuals, echoes a Boat Race campaign where it takes the effort from so many people behind the scenes to make a crew. The lifting of the trophy with all of my crewmates after winning the 2021 Men's Boat Race is a moment I will never forget. It was the culmination of years of dedication from all of us and the trophy waiting for us at the finish line marked a fitting end to that process.
Lifting this trophy in 2019 along with incredible teammates, coaches and supporters was an unforgettable moment. It represents a lot of hard work, our love for the sport and the uniqueness of the Boat Race.
The Boat Race Trophy appears twice on Boat Race day. Once in Putney, as the crews line up against one another in order to toss a coin for stations. And then again at the presentation at Mortlake.
Raising the trophy above my head in 2021 was a moment I’d imagined countless times during the season and a memory I still recall whenever I think of the race.
I remember seeing the newly designed trophy for the Women’s Race at The Boat Race Challenge in London one dark autumn evening. The lighting was dim but worked perfectly to pick out the trophy’s beautiful whorls, which evoke the Tideway’s water so successfully. It now prompts very happy memories of the recent succession of Cambridge women’s crews who’ve held it aloft in celebration.
Each day in training the athletes of the two universities will be giving their best, firstly for a chance to represent their university and to have their colours tied to it just after the finish on Race day. They are a representation of each individual's hopes and dreams and blood sweat and tears. As an Umpire I want to ensure that the selected athlete has a fair and equal chance of achieving that dream.