Knaresborough Bed Race to return for 2022

Knaresborough Lions’ Great Knaresborough Bed Race is to relaunch in 2022 after two years of pandemic-affected suspension.

Friday, 26th November 2021, 8:41 am
Updated Friday, 26th November 2021, 9:54 am
Knaresborough Bed Race crossing the river in 2019. Picture Gerard Binks

The event, held since 1966 and described as one of the largest community events held on the public streets in the North of England, will be staged on Saturday June 11.

“Racing beds in Knaresborough combines a fabulous mixture of gruelling athletic contest with a majestic, if slightly eccentric, pageant of decorated beds and runners in the theme of the year,” said chairman of the Lions organising committee Kevin Lloyd.

“The theme for 2022 is ‘The Environment: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle’,

“Teams can interpret this as they will and the broadest array will be encouraged as always.

“They can even reuse and recycle decorations from previous years. As ever, the accent is on fun for what is a tremendous family day which has caught the imaginations of people all over the world.”

Kevin added: “We get plenty of interest and bed racing in Knaresborough has spawned similar events in many countries.

“When would-be organisers contact us, we give them copies of our forms, publicity materials and plenty of helpful advice.

“At the top of the list, though, we say that what they really want is a rugged old town with medieval streets, a river which runs through a gorge and big enough to swim across, and panoramic views of some of the best scenery found anywhere.

“If they haven’t got that, then we wish them plenty of luck.”

Despite the necessary cancellations of Bed Race in 2020 and 2021, Knaresborough Lions found a healthy appetite remains to get the event re-started.

And plans for next year’s event will see hardly any change to what has marked out the event since 1966.

“We will ensure that it remains one of the finest, funniest and fiercest encounters of the annual sporting calendar in Yorkshire,” added Kevin.

The course is over 2.4 miles and takes in parkland, the glories of Waterside through the Nidd Gorge, up the almost sheer Castle Ings, through the cobbled street of the town, down Bond End to High Bridge, through McIntosh Park, and finishes with a 35-yard swim through the ever icy and fast-flowing waters of the River Nidd.

In the past, the fastest complete the course in under 14 minutes, the slowest in little more than twice that time.

There are prizes for fastest teams in different categories, for best dressed beds and for entertaining teams.

Entries forms will go on the Bed Race website, www.bedrace.co.uk, on January 1 2022 and teams have to enter before the end of February.

Kevin confirmed that the race field is for 90 teams and their beds and if needed a public lottery will be held in March to decide the final race card.

Bed Race is organised by volunteers from the Knaresborough Lions Club and provides a vehicle for money to be raised for charity and good causes.

It costs about £30,000 for the event to be staged, which involves charges for road closures, traffic management, crowd barriers, licenses, printing, signage, hire of equipment and materials.

Lions look to cover these costs through sponsorship, advertising in and sales of a printed event Programme, team entry fees, and income from spectators entering Conyngham Hall fields (by programme or £3 per adult) plus other charitable contributions.

Money raised over and above costs goes to Lions’ charities, a minimum of 80 per cent of which is donated to local good causes.