Rowers in action at Lent BumpsKatie Kasperson with permission for Varsity

If, like me, you’re not particularly excited by the idea of a very cold and dark Lent term, one positive I can offer is that it’s probably the best term for sport in Cambridge. Varsity matches take centre stage as many teams face off against the other place, while college sport remains in full swing off the back of a busy Michaelmas. With so much in store, here’s a quick preview of the biggest events to look out for this Lent term.

Football Varsity matches

Starting off with my most anticipated sporting event of the term, the football Varsity matches once again return to Cambridge this year and will be hosted at the home of Cambridge United, the Abbey Stadium, on Friday 15 March. With the men’s Blues seeking revenge after last year’s narrow defeat, and the women’s team hoping to match last year’s strong performance to retain the trophy, these are sure to be a thrilling pair of highly contested matches.

Lent Bumps

While rowing might not be my cup of tea, it is the centre of many students’ lives in Cambridge, and Bumps is sure to bring some fierce competition. For any confused freshers, the Bumps races see the boats line up in a staggered format down the river with the aim being to catch up with the boat in front in order to ‘bump’ them and gain a position on the river for the next day without being caught by the team behind. As only one team can be crowned head of the river, the majority will have their eyes set on the coveted Blades, which can be earned by bumping a boat in every race. This year’s Lent Bumps will take place across five days from Tuesday 27 February to Saturday 2 March, so if you’ve got a spare minute at the end of term, head down to the Cam to manically scream: “Yeah, [insert college name]!” and try to motivate those unhinged enough to be out on the river.

Rugby Varsity Matches

If rowing isn’t your thing (a very valid opinion) and you fancy a quick trip down to London, then Saturday 2 March also sees the return of the rugby Varsity Matches. These matches never fail to draw a crowd, even if that crowd is predominantly filled with entitled alumni who feel like reliving their “wild” university days by getting unacceptably drunk before kick off. This year sees a change of venue for the clash away from the traditional Twickenham to the StoneX ground, the home of Saracens, where we’re expecting the atmosphere to be as good as ever.

TTP Cambridge half marathon

Possibly the most feel-good event on the Cambridge sporting calendar, the Cambridge half marathon sees thousands of runners take to the streets in aid of a huge variety of charities and good causes. It’s one of the few events where university students can get more involved with the wider Cambridge community and the new course for this year sees the addition of two colleges, John’s and Trinity, on top of the traditional King’s and Jesus. The race is on Sunday 3 March and even if you’re not competing, it’s worth heading down to cheer on the runners as it’s an atmosphere worth experiencing.

The Boat Races

Now, I know this isn’t technically in Lent term, but it’s close enough, and I couldn’t really write this article without covering what is undoubtedly Cambridge’s biggest sporting event. The Blues return to the Thames off the back of their most successful year ever in 2023, when they took a clean sweep of all 13 races for only the third time ever. As always, we can expect crowds of hundreds of thousands lining the banks to see the crews in action on Saturday 30 March, and a few million more watching from the comfort of their homes. Let’s just hope that the crowd will be celebrating another clean sweep for Cambridge this year.


Mountain View

Ergs don’t float, but nor do boats apparently

College sport

If you’ve never really gotten involved with college sport before, Lent is the perfect time to get started. With leagues well underway and cuppers fixtures tallying up, there are plenty of opportunities to try something new. Excuse the completely biased plug, but sports like netball are really easy to pick up as a beginner, and have the bonus of a fun team atmosphere. College sport can be underappreciated in Cambridge at the best of times, so make sure to keep up with your college teams during this busy Lent term.