When: 9th June 2018, from 9am
Where: Knaresborough, North Yorkshire
£: Free to watch but donations to this charitable cause are most welcome.
What is it?
The 53rd annual Great Knaresborough Bed Race will take place on Saturday 9th June in North Yorkshire. This quirky event has been run every year since 1966, no matter what the weather.
The bed race is part pageant of decorated beds with teams in fancy dress, and part gruelling time-trial through very difficult but spectacular terrain. Each year there is a new theme and this year the teams will be dressing up their beds with the theme of A Night at the Theatre.
The original idea for the Great Knaresborough Bed Race was thought up as a way of raising money for charity and the first race saw just four intrepid teams take part.
On the morning of the race, the teams will gather in the grounds of Knaresborough Castle, where they will be judged for the ‘Best Dressed Team’ accolade. At 12pm a fete will open at Conyngham Hall Field, with amusements, stalls, food and a bar.
At around 1pm, the main action of the day begins with a parade through the streets of Knaresborough to Conyngham Hall; with all the competitors in their finery. For the procession, each team is allowed up to 20 supporters to parade with them, all wearing fancy dress. The parade is usually joined by marching bands, troubadours and dance groups.
The race itself will begin at 3pm, heading through the Nidd Gorge, along the waterside, up the vertiginous Castle Ings to the Castle and Marketplace, down Bond End, finishing with a 20 yard swim. The swim will involve the runners and passengers, complete with bed, going through the River Nidd. The bed race is certainly not for the faint-hearted!
If you are planning to watch the Great Knaresborough Bed Race, there are several good vantage points. Mackintosh fields are great for watching teams tackle the infamous river crossing and Conyngham Hall is good for watching the teams crossing the finish line. Conyngham Hall Field will have a large screen where you can see all the action.
Some teams enter the race to be the fastest, some to have the best decorated bed, others to win the most entertaining team award, but this being Yorkshire, all compete fiercely.
The event usually attracts around 25,000 spectators and is volunteer-run by the Knaresborough Lions Club. Through the organisers, the teams and the involvement of charities and voluntary groups, the event usually raises between £80,000 and £100,000 for good causes.
The Great Knaresborough Bed Race has become so popular it has even spawned other similar events in Germany, the USA and New Zealand.