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The Big River Race

​Zero Carbon Guildford is teaming up with Guildford Lions and Surrey Care Trust for this year's Guildford River Race - with a twist! 


We’re asking that all teams avoid buying anything new, using only recycled and repurposed materials to build rafts. If you already have a raft from previous years, then you’re recycling the entire raft, and you’re already a winner in our book!

(Though as a legal disclaimer, the actual winner is the team that crosses the finish line first). To sweeten the deal, ZERO will be offering a prize for the most sustainable raft! 

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The race will launch from Millmead Island on July 2nd, and the first team to make it downstream to the Wey Kayak Club is the winner. As part of the fun, there'll be races for different classes of crafts, including paddleboards, and ducks! All proceeds will go to local charities. 

Timetable: July 2nd

11am Big duck race

12.30pm  Little duck race

2pm  Raft display and Mayor's inspection of rafts

3pm Raft Race start

5pm  BBQ at Waterside Centre

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How Can You Help?

There’s a number of ways individuals or organisations can support this event.

  • Volunteer: help us plan and run the event. Email:

  • Promote: Send this event round your networks and social media

  • Enter!: Most importantly of all, enter a team!

How Do I Enter The Guildford Raft Race?

Step 1. Get a team together from your work colleagues, your community group, church, or just your friends and family. Organisations are free to enter more than 1 team. Teams should consist of 4-8 people. 


Step 2. Sign up via the Guildford River Race Eventbrite page by clicking here.


Step 3. Entry fee for the main race is £40 per raft. Check the Eventbrite listing for prices for other races.


Step 4. You’ll need your race number and conditions, so email to receive this. The race number must appear on both sides of your raft, above the waterline, in 300mm high numbering.


Step 5. Get sponsored! The more cash you can raise to back your raft team the more proceeds will go back into community projects.


Entry fees and money generated by sponsorship will cover costs for use of the river, St Johns Ambulance, and council fees. Further proceeds will be split between the three organising charities, Lions Club and Zero Carbon Guildford. 

Recycled Raft Race Rules

  1. 4 - 8 people per raft

  2. Rafts must be a maximum length:breadth ratio of 2:1

  3. Rafts must be people-powered only. No motors of any kind are allowed. 

  4. Rafts used in previous years may be entered, and can be upgraded as long as the material used is not acquired new and fits the material requirements

  5. You must wear suitable footwear in case of glass on the river bed

  6. No new material should be obtained to construct the raft (with the exception of marine quality rope, which ZCG will collect at the end for re-use). Full list of acceptable materials below.

  7. All materials must be thoroughly cleaned prior to construction. Rafts will be inspected and stripped of any dirty material

  8. All paintwork and decorations in contact with the water must be non-toxic and non-polluting on contact with water

  9. No nails!!

  10. Screws must not protrude from materials

  11. Your team must be able to carry the raft without mechanical assistance

  12. Rafts must display your race number, on both port & starboard side, above the waterline of the craft, in 300mm high numbering. 

  13. You must be able to escape the raft quickly in case you sink or big meanies capsize you

  14. If you don’t comply with all these rules, and you can’t fix the issue on the day, you won’t be allowed to get in the water. It’s the way of the river.

Acceptable Construction Materials 


  1. Steel/ tin cans

  2. Black food trays 

  3. Compostable plastic 

  4. Corks

  5. Food tins and drinks cans 

  6. Fruit punnets  

  7. Plastic bottles 

  8. Plastic tins/ trays/ tubs

  9. Plastic drink Bottles


  1. Light-weight wood offcuts

  2. Lumber and pallets

  3. Old/ clean bins

  4. PVC tubes/ gutters

  5. Plastic barrels


  1. Marine quality rope (will be collected & stored for re-use by ZCG after event

Safety Conditions

  • All members of your team must be able to swim (obvs)

  • St Johns Ambulance & rescue vessels will be present

  • Suitable footwear must be worn at all times

  • A risk assessment will be completed by the organisers in advance of the event

  • Wey Kayak Club will follow behind the race collecting flotsam to ensure no pollution is left


  • Zero Carbon Guildford, The Lions Club, and Surrey Care Trust, cannot be held responsible for injury sustained by failing to follow proper safety precautions 

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