Henley Royal Regatta

Henley Royal Regatta

Our guest correspondent Marie Bean the well – known Lazy Runner reports for us on the Henley Royal Regatta.

I am a runner, have been for over 25 years and in that time I have covered thousands of miles running. I run because I’m hopeless at all other sporting activities, so running suits my low talent sporting lifestyle. However, watching other sports is a whole different matter, as I have found most spectator sporting activities do involve other things that I am also very good at- eating, drinking and general laziness.

The Henley Royal Regatta, is a five day rowing event in summer that covers over 200 top level rowing races. I was very lucky to get an entry into one of England’s poshest, annual sporting events and not just an entry- because my contact was an ex Olympic Rower I acquired a coveted members ticket.

However, that did come with its own set of problems- to get entry to the members section women are required to wear a dress or skirt that not just stops at the knee, but had to be well below the knee- a warning email told me that if any part of the knee was seen members would be evicted. Who would of thought those bony little protrusions could be so offensive, well on a certain few days of the year in Henley UK, they arepositively obscene!

The dress code was a problem for me, as when I left Australia I didn’t know that I would be attending the Henley Royal Regatta so naturally forgot to pack my great aunts tweed ensemble with matching hat and brogues. And although I am not a mini skirted type of girl, I found it hard to find an outfit that went dowdily below the knee in any of London’s departments stores. I finally did acquire an elastic waisted black skirt, that if I tugged and tugged could be forced to cover the knees, and then once I had passed the ruler test, I could accidently on purpose let it ride up to its normal position. This worked and I made the cut, and yes there were gentleman with said rulers at the member’s gate, so I was lucky I heeded the rule book.

And don’t worry the guys didn’t get out of the stringent dress code, no exposing of knees for them either; they were also required to wear jacket and tie which cannot be removed at any time whilst in the members. Unfortunately for the boys, the day I went it was over 30 degrees Celsius, so there were some red, sweaty faces in the crowd as well.

Once my group had made it past the guards, we went straight for the drinks area and started on the Pims Jugs, the UK’s premier summer refreshment. A jug of Pims at Henley cost £28 pound, which was a bit of a shock as the day before I had been glugging them down in Brighton for £ 8!

Rowing is a funny sport to watch as you can only see a snippet of any race. You have to make a choice, do I trudge in high heels all the up to the start and watch them prepare and set off, or do I stay at the finish line and cheer them all to victory- or do I just sit somewhere in the middle near a bar and eat, drink and then when a cheer goes up quickly look over to the river and realise you have just missed two boats whizzing past.

All in all it was a great day out. Glorious English sunshine makes everyone in the UK happy and friendly so that adds to the fun, as does the Pims the food, Oh and glimpsing a few boats go by is good as well!

Date posted: 23rd September, 2014

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