(Reuters) - Yale's heavyweight crew defeated Harvard on Sunday in the 150th running of the their regatta on the Thames River in Connecticut, giving the Bulldogs their first victory in the storied race since 2007.

Yale took a 5-second lead at the first mile marker in the race on the Thames River, America's oldest collegiate sporting event, and never relinquished it, finishing nearly 17 seconds ahead of the Crimson.

"It took strong-willed people (to win this race). They've never done this before," Yale head coach Steve Gladstone said in comments posted on the Yale crew website.

"This is a strong crew and they rowed a great race. I had no idea they could go that fast, it's so hard to predict," Gladstone said.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Nick Zieminski)