Knaresborough Lions Launch Plans for ‘Bed Race 2020 Unplugged’

1 May 2020

The organisers of the Great Knaresborough Bed Race, the Knaresborough Lions Club, are planning to keep its spirit alive this year with a virtual event they are calling ‘Bed Race 2020 Unplugged’. This will take place on Saturday 13 June 2020, with a build-up over the coming weeks.

Amanda George, Public Relations Officer of the Knaresborough Lions, said:

In the current situation, we had no choice but to cancel Bed Race in its normal form. But Bed Race has taken place every year since 1966, and we couldn’t let this year pass without finding some way to celebrate the event.

This is the time when, during a normal year, you would start to see some of the ninety teams training around Knaresborough, each with six athletes half pulling, half pushing a wheeled ‘bed’ along the High Street, around the town and across the River Nidd, with the obligatory passenger hanging on for dear life. No one here bats an eyelid at this extraordinary sight, but don’t let that make you think local people don’t care fiercely about this event.

From early May there is a real buzz around Knaresborough as people compare training regimes, elaborately ‘dress’ their beds for the themed parade, and speculate on how the teams might fare in the gruelling 2.4 mile time trial. These things sadly can’t happen this year.

We are living through very challenging times, but despite that – and also because of it – the Knaresborough Lions want everyone to be able to celebrate Bed Race in 2020. We must not gather on the streets, so there will be nothing to go and see outside on the day – but people will be able to enjoy a virtual Bed Race experience from their homes. As ever, it will combine community spirit, joyful pageantry, gritty athleticism and downright quirkiness.

To start things off this year, the Knaresborough Lions are asking children (and grown-up kids too) to make pictures – not photos, but drawings, paintings or collages – of beds. Any kind of beds.

They should use the theme adopted for Bed Race Unplugged: ‘What I’m looking forward to…’

To get a good idea of some of the designs used in past Bed Races, people can refer to the event website at

Once the artworks are finished, they should be photographed or scanned and sent to the Bed Race Facebook page at where they will be shared for all to enjoy.

Amanda said:

We are also asking Knaresborough people to put their bed pictures in their windows.

And if you’re not in Knaresborough, do it anyway!

More Bed Race Unplugged activities for people both locally and around the UK and beyond will be announced by the Knaresborough Lions in due course.

Bed Race 2020 Chair Kevin Lloyd, said:

Our aim is to ensure that this year’s ‘Bed Race’ is just as wonderful and memorable as in other years,” “The Knaresborough Lions look forward to welcoming everyone to Bed Race 2020 Unplugged.



The Great Knaresborough Bed Race has been held each year, always on the second Saturday in June, until this year.

Bed Race is in two parts – a fancy dress pageant of decorated beds in the theme of the year, and the race itself, a gruelling athletic contest in which teams of six runners and a passenger navigate their beds around the streets of Knaresborough over a 2.4 mile course, culminating in a swim through the chilly waters of the River Nidd.

It is organised by the volunteer group Knaresborough Lions to raise funds for charity and local community causes. Apart from the 90 teams and passengers which take part, many more people are also involved in the parade as helpers, in street bands and dance groups, in making the bed decorations and fancy dress, and marshalling the route and making it safe for the thousands of people who come to watch.


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