Two tremendously important competitions are taking place this weekend: the riverbound Boat Race and the farm-set Goat Race. But which should you watch? We pit braying students against braying livestock to see who comes out on top.
Since 1829, a battle has been waged on the murky Thames. Every year, 16 fearsomely educated oarsmen from the boat clubs of Oxford and Cambridge universities have raced from Putney to Mortlake. The rivalry is fierce and really quite silly.
For six years, a friendly battle has been waged on the pathways of Spitalfields City Farm by two goats representing Oxford and Cambridge. There’s no real rivalry here, as it’s unlikely the goats are aware of what is going on. They are, after all, goats.
WINNER: Look, the Boat Race is sponsored by Bank of New York Mellon, no less. It has a gravitas the Goat Race struggles to match.
These young men are in their prime. All are students at the two finest universities in the land and they are toned to perfection. They are an ideal mixture of form and function, brains and brawn. Like musclebound Harry Potters.
Barney and Bramble, who have gone head to head every year since the race began, are having a well-deserved sabbatical. Their replacements are two African pygmy goats. Which means they’re extra tiny, and almost unbearably adorable.
WINNER: You can stroke the goats after the race. You can stroke the rowers too, but it’s hardly the same. Goats win.
Years of training and experience go into this one big day. The rowers get up at some ungodly hour, eat strict diets and put their bodies through day after day of torture to make sure they are in peak physical condition to utterly destroy their rivals.
Ever tried to train a goat? Well, let us tell you, it’s a bloody nightmare. They are stubborn beasts. They will also eat anything and everything in sight. So no, they won’t be as fit as the Oxbridge lot, or as educated. But again, they are just goats.
WINNER Eating whatever you want and lying around in the sun all day? That’s our kind of training regime. Sorry, Oxbridge.
For over 150 years the Boat Race has followed the same route, moving west along the river from Putney. The boats hold eight rowers and one coxswain, whose job is to set the pace and swear a lot. Cambridge are leading with 81 wins to Oxford’s 77.
The Goat Race is the main event in a full day of fundraising fun for the Spitalfields City Farm. They basically raise money for their whole year on this one day. They also have a warm-up shoat race. A shoat, in case you didn’t know, is a little pig. Aww
WINNER: As oar-some as the river race is, shoats and goats trump boring old boats any day.
Goats win – G.O.A.T. AKA Greatest of All Time
The rowers are on a hiding to nothing. We say, head to Spitalfields this year and watch a race that will put a smile on your face. Eddy Frankel