Asked about the split from his wife and the toll it has taken on his family, Cracknell described how the demands of studying for his MPhil as well as training for the boat race has kept him preoccupied but said that his life will be “hard” and “empty” after the race. “The commitment I’ve had to make to the studying as well as the rowing has given a focus that has been all encompassing in a way that has been I guess shielding me from what’s coming,” he told the BBC. “And then I imagine on April 8th there will be a bit of a void.”In the men’s race, Cambridge pulled ahead from the start and despite a clash of oars they succeeded in holding off a late surge from Oxford in the final stretch of the race, winning in 16 minutes, 57 seconds. The BBC wired up some of the competitors to heart rate monitors so that viewers can see rowers’ beats per minute surge during bursts of adrenaline during the race. Cambridge also won the Women’s Boat Race for the third year in a row, beating Oxford by five lengths. The Light Blues cemented their dominance over their traditional rivals, with new coach Robert Weber’s team storming into an early lead and refusing to relent.Cambridge stroke Lily Lindsay has rowed internationally for the USA, but insisted nothing compared to a Boat Race victory.”There’s nothing like this,” Lindsay told the BBC. “Training alongside my team-mates has been unbelievable. It’s been a pleasure.” Dara Alizadeh, president of Cambridge University’s boat club, described Cracknell during training as “very intense, relentless…he’s pretty savage.” But the 25-year-old said told the BBC that “even at his age, he fits right in, he always was one of the guys”. James Cracknell has become the oldest ever Boat Race champion, with his teammates revealing that they refer to him as “Uncle James”.Age 46, the double-Olympic gold medallist and six-time world champion was part of Cambridge University’s crew as they rowed to victory at the 165th Boat Race.Cracknell, who is studying an MPhil in Human Evolution at Peterhouse College, is also the most decorated man to row in the annual contest against Oxford.“I haven’t felt like this for 20 years,” Cracknell said after the race, adding that the victory “topped everything” he has achieved so far in his sporting career.Cracknell has previously competed in Amundsen Omega3 South Pole Race which involved rowing across the Atlantic Ocean and trekking across the Arabian Desert.He has also become a successful runner, becoming the highest placed Briton ever in the Marathon des Sables in 2010 and completing the London Marathon in 2:43:12 in 2017.At more than twice the age of some of his team mates – the youngest is 19-year-old Callum Sullivan, a first year Music student at Cambridge – he was nicknamed “Uncle James”. Cracknell is eight years older than the previous record holder, Andy ProbertCredit:Adam Davy Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Cracknell is more than twice the age of some of his team matesCredit: PETER CZIBORRA When he moved to Cambridge to start his course last September, Turner remained at their London home, looking after their three children and focusing on her television career and work as a writer and pregnancy adviser. Cracknell is eight years older than the previous record holder, Andy Probert, who was 38 when he coxed Cambridge in 1992, and has a decade on Mike Wherley who was 36 when he rowed for Oxford in 2008.In the past other older athletes have tried out for the Boat Race, including rugby player Andy Ripley, who missed getting a place on the team in 1998 when he was 50. Cracknell joked that he has been put “down the far end so they can just ignore me” and say ‘Can’t hear what you’re saying old man!’”.It emerged last month that Cracknell had split from his wife of 17 years, the television presenter Beverley Turner, with whom he has three children. His children were not there to greet him on the finish line, but Turner tweeted to praise Cracknell on a “fantastic performance”, writing on Twitter: “Congratulations on hard won victory”.The couple have been candid about the difficulties they have faced since 2010, when Cracknell was hit from behind by a lorry’s wing mirror during a cycle ride across the United States.The damage to his brain was significant and life changing, slowing his speech and leaving him with an irascible temper.