Photo courtesy Gable Events picture library

All eyes will be focussed on the River Thames between Putney and Mortlake this Sunday for the Oxford v Cambridge University Boat Race when double Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell becomes the oldest man to represent one of the crews for this annual test of strength and stamina at the remarkable age of 46.

If James has inspired you to take to the water and try something different this summer, why not get some colleagues/friends together and enter a team in the 13th East Anglian Dragon Boat Festival? 

The East Anglian Dragon Boat Festival, sponsored by Warner Leisure Hotels, takes place on Oulton Broad in Lowestoft on Saturday 31st August and there’s plenty of time to get a team together and guarantee a place on the start line.

Unlike the University Boat Race crews who average 6’ 4” and 14 stone for the men and 5’ 10” and 11 stone for the women, you don’t need the physique of Sir Steve Redgrave or Dame Katherine Grainger to be successful as dragon boat racing caters for people of all shapes, sizes and levels of fitness. No previous experience is required to take part, just plenty of team spirit and enthusiasm!

Under the expert guidance of a qualified helm provided by organisers Gable Events, your crew of up to 11 people will soon be paddling in time and bonding together as you race towards the finish line over the 200m race course. Each team gets three attempts to improve their race times with everyone having an equal chance of reaching the semi-finals. Over 30 crews are expected to battle it out and all will be seeking to knock Norfolk Drywall from Norwich off their pedestal as reigning champions.

University Boat Race
Photo courtesy Gable Events picture library

Leading web design, IT support and digital marketing agency, Netmatters based in Wymondham, are regular entrants (and previous champions) and Director, Chris Gulliver explained how taking part in the Festival has helped his business, “We enter for team bonding, to promote a healthy living culture within the workplace and to motivate and inspire not only those working here at Netmatters but also those we work with. Paddlers and non-paddlers, their friends and family are all encouraged to get involved which strengthens relationships inside and outside the workplace. A positive atmosphere brings with it a whole raft of benefits, motivated team spirits translate directly into efficiency and productivity”.

The Dragon Boat Festival is an open charity event with entrants invited to raise money for the charity of their choosing. Teams opting for the popular gold and silver entry packages, which include a charity donation as well as marketing benefits, can also nominate their favourite charity to benefit from their donation.

Specialising in UK short activity breaks for adults, Warner Leisure Hotels will have two local teams entered into the event from their Gunton Hall and Corton Coastal Villages, as well as two teams representing their resorts in Newark and North Wales! The four Warner crews will be fundraising for their partner charity Macmillan Cancer Support.

For further information and an entry form, visit  or call Festival organisers Gable Events on 01780 470718. For information about Warner Leisure Hotels, visit or call 01442 863245.