Purple flowers in front of the chapel doors

Judith Packer (1983) set to umpire 2021 Boat Race

St Peter’s alumna, Judith Packer (née Harrow, 1983, Engineering), is set to be one of the two umpires who will invigilate this year’s boat races between Oxford and Cambridge on 4 April.

Judith, who is a highly respected international rowing umpire, will officiate alongside Sarah Winckless MBE, former double World Champion and 2004 Olympic bronze medallist. The pair had originally been slated to umpire the 2020 races before they were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Although Judith has previously umpired the women’s race, this year will mark the first time that both the men’s and women’s races will be umpired by women.

Judith came up to St Peter's in 1983, making her among the first cohorts of female students at the college, which formally admitted women for the first time in 1979. It was while at college that she took up rowing as a novice with the St Peter's College Boat Club, sparking a lifelong love of the sport and leading to her career in umpiring.

The men’s Boat Race was first raced on 10 June 1829 in Henley on Thames, while the women’s Boat Race was first contested on 15 March 1927 in Oxford.

Since 2015, both the men’s and women’s races have taken place on the same day on The Championship Course. Both races have moved locations a number of times, but the women’s race has never been held on the Great Ouse at Ely, where the 2021 races are due to take place.

More information about Judith and her fellow umpire can be found in the Boat Race official magazine.

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Judith Packer