11 of our favourite photos of the day Ely hosted the Boat Race
- Credit: Terry Harris
Cambridge won both the 75th Women’s Boat Race and the 166th Men’s Gemini Boat Race on the River Great Ouse in Ely on Sunday.
In the closest men’s race since 2003 and the closest women’s race since 2011, Cambridge took both trophies.
Those were the sporting statistics from the event which was seen by a worldwide audience of millions.
And a handful of local spectators either fortunate enough to live by the river or those resilient enough – and living close by – to find whatever way possible to stretch over and see the action.
In one instance that included putting ladders alongside a van to peak over the riverbank.
But in the main some 150 police officers did the job they were asked to do and keep spectators away.
Ely may have been chosen for its remoteness, and will no doubt survive the rudeness of a BBC commentator who described the Ouse as “boring”.
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In the main it was a jovial day, police allowing dozens to wander the footpaths alongside the river until the noon curfew was put in place.
The pandemic had forced the switching of the event from the Thames to the Fens but as a showcase for our part of the country there could have been none better.
For some local businesses – the Swan on the River at Littleport – it was a bonus few days for them.
They were ‘taken over’ by the Boat Race and in an event management plan agreed by the district council were revealed to have also been contracted to provide 50 packed lunches daily for the participants.
Robert Gillespie of the Boat Race Company Ltd said: “We are immensely grateful to everyone both on and off the water who helped make the event happen.
“We should acknowledge that every student athlete racing today delivered outstanding performances in uniquely difficult circumstances.
“The resilience shown by the athletes through the long and lonely months of training in isolation is extraordinary but delivered races that will rank amongst the best of all time.”
In other news, the Ely Group of Internal Drainage Boards noted the work they had to carry out to ensure the smooth running of the event.
"The course of this year’s Boat Race runs through the middle of the Padnal & Waterden IDB,” they tweeted.
“Today we will be turning off the board’s five pumping stations, to ensure the race goes smoothly.”