In the world of collegiate rowing, one of the biggest competitions of the year is the Intercollegiate Rowing Association’s (IRA) National Championship. Yet all of the prestige of the race was established in Poughkeepsie, New York on the Hudson River. The reason they chose the Hudson River was because it was one of the only places with a four-mile straightaway. They held it here from 1895-1949.
The IRA was founded by Cornell University, Columbia University, and the University of Pennsylvania. These universities wanted to form an association in order to hold a race every year in which all of the top rowing schools in the country could compete.
For more information on the history of the regatta, check out this website from the Marist Library archives: http://library.marist.edu/archives/regatta/history.html
President Murray wanted to bring back the original history of the regatta and it’s usage of the Hudson River, which is why Marist hosted the first reenactment last year tied to the quadricentennial of the Hudson River and dedication of the Walkway Over the Hudson. (For more information from the quadricentennial, click here: http://www.poughkeepsiequad.org/)
This is the second year in a row that Marist has hosted the historic Poughkeepsie Regatta. On Friday night, all of the schools involved gathered in Marist’s Cabaret (located in the Student Center) where they had dinner together. They were shown video of old pictures from the regattas past between the years of 1895 and 1949 while music of the times played in the background. Aside from the opportunity to interact with other schools and see a historic slideshow, one of the highlights of the night was having people who participated in the original IRA National Championships that spoke about their experiences from the races.
Here is a brief description of the event from the prospective of Marist crew team member Kelly Furlong who participated in the race on Saturday, October 2nd, 2010:
We welcomed Navy, Army, Cornell, and UPenn to the Marist Boathouse Saturday morning, it was a little chilly but we stuck it out. It was my last race as a senior and the
first and only time I raced in the Poughkeepsie Regatta because they brought it back for the Quadricentennial celebration last year, but I was studying abroad. All of the Marist boats handled the conditions of the always-unpredictable Hudson River. We had a great turnout, and it was a fantastic event complete with live music from Marist’s Band as well as coffee and pastries for all of our guests to enjoy while they waited for our boats to make it down the seemingly never ending 4 mile long race course!
Stay tuned !
<33 Brittany MacLeod: @RedFoxNation 😉 and Kelly Furlong