The Knaresborough Lions have organised the Bed Race since the 1990s and welcome volunteers from the wider community to help them stage the event. The club is part of Lions Club International, a volunteer organisation that exists in 180 countries across the world. Lions provide help to community groups most in need, and support disadvantaged people from all backgrounds.
Held annually since 1966 Bed Race is part fancy dress pageant, part gruelling time trial, and has become one of the largest community events in the north of England. It is a volunteer event with an estimated £100,000 being raised for good causes in each of the past couple of years. The field is of 90 teams of six runners and a passenger. Hundreds more parade with the teams and 250 volunteers turn up on the day to provide marshalling, crowd control, safety and other services. The whole town of Knaresborough is galvanised.
Alan Walgate Chairman of the organising committee of the Lions Club said:
Mother Shipton obviously takes pride of place.
But we have associations with Robin Hood, King John, Robert the Hermit, the ghostly fishing fleet of the Nidd, murderers of archbishops, attempted bombers of Parliament, homicidal schoolmasters, and more than our fair share of vampires, trolls, witches, warlocks, walled up cats and countless other-worldly inhabitants of the imagination.
But we don’t want Bed Race teams to focus just on local matters. As we have found in the past with Bed Race themes, the broader the canvas the better the array for the pageant. We are encouraging entrants to cast the net wide through ancient history – British, Greek, Viking, Roman, Chinese, Egyptian, African, American and Asian.
Legends can be old or new.
It is amazing to see who has attracted legendary status from pop stars to sporting heroes, explorers, tribal leaders, local officials, kings, queens and courtiers, road builders and prophetesses. Jack Metcalf and Ursula Southeil would approve, we feel.
As we have seen for years one of the great attractions for the large number of spectators who flock to the town for Bed Race has been the sheer quality, imagination and variety of the dressed beds and teams. Together with the marching bands, dance groups and supporters they have lent a unique carnival atmosphere to one of the largest amateur sporting events in the country.
As always, the Great Knaresborough Bed Race will be held on the second Saturday in June, making 8 June 2013, the date for next year’s race.
This will be the 48th year of Bed Race. Entry forms will be available from 1 January 2013 on the event’s website www.knaresborough.co.uk/bedrace