The 2008 Boat Race gets under way this Saturday, with the news that this year's event is to be longer than in previous years, by some considerable distance, and will be rowed in the opposite direction.
The race along the River Thames, usually fought out over a course that starts at Putney Bridge and ends in Mortlake, will instead start at Mortlake and continue its long and arduous journey to Putney, on past Waterloo, Southwark and Bermondsey, and ever-eastward towards Southend-on-Sea.
When the exhausted Oxford and Cambridge crews finally reach the North Sea, the race then makes its way in the direction of the Scandinavian Peninsula, finally ending in Stavanger, Norway, on or around 5th April.
The race has been changed to provide the supreme challenge for British Olympic team competitors preparing for rowing events in this summer's Beijing Games.
Oxford cox, Marcus Tomkinson-Smythe, said:
"Top ho! It's a really spiffing challenge! The boys are up to it. They haven't been on a bender since last Monday."
And the Cambridge crew were equally confident of reaching Norway alive. Head boy, Tarquin Bedlam-Dorkins, said:
"I say! What? Stavanger? I thought that was the bit between the arsehole and the bollox!"