Sports & social
Sport has always played an important role in Oxford. The University has extensive sports facilities across the city. At the Saïd Business School campus at Egrove Park you will find a gym as well as tennis courts, a snooker table, croquet lawn and goal posts for an impromptu game of football with fellow participants. The 37 acres of grounds are perfect for walking or running. Try the Richard Marshall Walk or take a jogging map from reception and choose a trail which takes you into the open countryside and long the river.
Some colleges also have their own gyms such as Balliol, Keble, Worcester and St Catherine’s.
At Iffley Road there is a running track named after Roger Bannister - the first man to run a mile in less than four minutes – as well as a climbing wall, swimming pool, tennis courts, Astroturf pitch and sports hall.
At the University Parks there are rugby, football and lacrosse pitches, as well as croquet lawns, 14 grass tennis courts and cricket nets.
Perhaps the most famous Oxford University club is the Boat Cub founded in 1839 and located on the Isis – as the stretch of the River Thames is known here. Its most famous race of the year is the Boat Race against Cambridge University held on the Thames in London around Easter each year and watched by 8.9 million people across 113 countries. Colleges also compete against each other in a series of races known as The Bumps. Boats chase each other in single file, with each crew trying to bump the boat in front while trying not to be bumped by the boat behind.
If you have the time, there really is nowhere finer to start rowing or to improve.
The annual clash against Cambridge in rugby is also another highlight and attracts raucous support on both sides. Known as the Varsity Match, it takes place each December at the national stadium, Twickenham in Southwest London, and the last one was also won by Oxford!
If you’re not familiar with this pastime you could spend your summer learning the rules of cricket. Truth be told, it’s not quite as complicated as die-hard fans would have you believe. There are 30 college clubs who compete amongst themselves – the league of games is known as cuppers – as well as local and travelling sides.
The MBA tournament
MBA students can take part in the annual MBA Tournament in Paris, a sporting event that gathers MBA students from top-ranked business schools around the world. There are three days of sporting competitions and festivities, with a wide variety of activities from tournaments in rugby and swimming, to table football, rock climbing and salsa dancing! Above all, it’s great fun.
Gliding down the river on a warm summer’s day in a flat-bottomed boat really is one of life’s great pleasures. Such craft, called punts, were originally used in Oxford for transporting cargo, but nowadays it’s strictly just the human variety on board.
The art of punting – propelling yourself along with a long pole – takes some practice and getting used to. Quick tip: if you have a choice, hang onto the punt and not the pole – you can always paddle back to the pole. If you’re in charge of the pole, stand at the front of the boat. The back is the “Cambridge end” (unsurprisingly, they do it differently over there). Pack spare clothes: mischief, malevolence or misfortune dictates that you will almost certainly end up wet.