Knaresborough Bed Race 2020 cancelled for the first time since the 1960s

Knaresborough Bed RaceKnaresborough Bed Race
Knaresborough Bed Race | jpimedia
The Knaresborough Bed Race has been cancelled for the first time in its history due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The quirky, eccentric tradition takes place every June and involves 90 teams racing with home-made beds around the streets of the town before swimming across the River Nidd to the finish line.

Although the river crossing had to be abandoned in both 1972 and 1988 due to high water levels, the race itself has never been cancelled since it was first run in 1966.

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Organisers the Knaresborough Lions Club have now confirmed that the event - which attracts huge crowds to support over 600 runners - has been called off due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Knaresborough Bed RaceKnaresborough Bed Race
Knaresborough Bed Race | jpimedia

The announcement comes a day after the cancellations of two other high-profile Yorkshire events, the Great Yorkshire Show and Whitby Goth Weekend, were also confirmed.

A statement on the Knaresborough Bed Race's website read: "We are very sorry to have to announce that the Knaresborough Bed Race 2020 has been cancelled because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

"Teams and sponsors will be hearing from us in the next few days. Thank you for your support, and we look forward to seeing you at Bed Race 2021."

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The Bed Race is the biggest event in Knaresborough's calendar and attracts competitors, spectators and volunteers of all ages. There's also a parade and a best-dressed bed competition before the race itself. Many of the teams come from local sports clubs, schools and workplaces.

Some of the current organisers and marshals are the grandchildren of the event's first judges in the 1960s.