There will be more at stake for Peter Hackworth than simple sporting pride in this month's Boat Race. There will also be the little matter of an unrequited love going back to his schooldays to spur on the cox of the Oxford University crew.
For when the Blue boats line up against one another on 30 March, the cox's opposite number on the Cambridge eight will be one Eleanor Griggs, who was the subject of Hackworth's romantic attentions during their shared schooldays in west London.
The problem was that the affection extended in only one direction. "There was a time when I was romantically interested", Hackworth said, "but she shot me down in flames. She preferred my best mate."
Griggs used to cox the girls' crew at school while he steered the boys and they did race each other once. But, unfortunately for students of form, the result is lost in the past. Last year, when Griggs steered the Cambridge men's lightweight eight to victory, Hackworth had a chat with his old schoolmate. "I encouraged her to go for the heavyweights", he said. It was a suggestion he could yet regret.Reuse content