The recent boat-race between the eight-cared crews of Oxford and Cambridge universities brings before us a subject that has been for a long time under discussion by many of the most prominent boating-men and physicians of the world, namely, the four-mile course in boat-races. All physicians, who have given the subject any thought or attention, unanimously agree that a race of four miles is but a needless test of a man's endurance, and that no man can row that distance, spurred on by ambition and excitement and straining every muscle at each stroke, without some serious injury, which is sure to make itself apparent sooner or later. Such a strain on both nerves and muscles can not be without effect, as has been shown in many cases, during or immediately after the race. It is a well known fact that boating men are short-lived, due, undoubtedly, to the overexertion undergone in races of this length. While no boating men would listen to the proposal of an important race of two miles, it seems that a compromise might be made, and the distance of three miles be adopted for the standard course. The skill and ability of a crew could certainly be tested in rowing that distance, and the most injurious effects of a race, which are, perhaps, due to the severe exertion of that last mile, when all the muscles are wearied, might be avoided.
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August 04, 2015