Almost every weekend between now and the end of summer, Gable Events are running their annual dragonboat races in aid of local charities in locations all around England. There are eight events left on the calendar, set to take place in the following locations:
23 July: Lakeside, Doncaster
31 July: Salford Quays Watersports Centre, Manchester
7 August: River Trent, Nottingham
14 August: Witham Way Country Park, Boston
20 August: River Ouse, Ely
4 September: Lilford Lodge Lakes, Oundle
10 September: River Camb, Fen Ditton, Cambridge
25 September: Alton Water, Stutton
A two thousand year old tradition, dragonboat racing originated in southern China where the competing crews would throw rocks at each other and try to bash their opposition with large sticks! These days the races tend to be held as part of charitable fundraising or corporate “team-building” events, where rock throwing and stick bashing are rather more frowned upon.
However dragonboat racing also takes place at an international competitive level with races varying in length anywhere up to 2000m. Longer endurance events are held all around the world, with the Guinness World Record for the longest distance travelled in a dragonboat currently standing at just under 550km – and taking an epic 38 hours and 5 minutes!
Charitable gala races are mercifully over a much shorter distance and the teams will most often compete over a distance of between 200m and 500m depending on the location and the numbers taking part in each race. The boats are manned by a crew of “paddlers” who row in time to a beat set by the “drummer” who sits at the head of the ship. It all makes for a great day out or short break with the kids – and raises money for some very worthwhile charities all across the UK.
Image: “Dragonboat Race by ViNull, on Flickr”