‘Keep it clean’ theme for 2022 Great Knaresborough Bed Race

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This year’s Great Knaresborough Bed Race, Saturday 11 June 2022.

The theme of this year’s Great Knaresborough Bed Race is ‘The Environment: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle and teams, helpers and people coming to watch are all being asked to reflect this in how they respond to the event.

The chairman of the Bed Race organising committee from the Knaresborough Lions,Kevin Lloyd,  said

We’re doing what we can to reinforce the environmental message.

But we need people to come to the party.

The teams are being asked to use recyclable and reusable materials in building their floats for the Parade.

Helpers are being asked to help us clean up and reduce waste to a minimum, and we hope spectators will take on the message by using receptacles for their litter and wherever they can to take it home with them.

Kevin said:

The Knaresborough Lions are planning to plant 100 young trees in Horseshow Field on the opposite side of the river to where Bed Race starts and finishes. These have been kindly donated to us by our friends at Harlow Carr, who are also helping to sponsor the 2022 Bed Race.

And the 2022 event also marks the revival and, we hope, regrowth of Bed Racing in Knaresborough after two years of enforced cancellation due to covid. On the subject of covid, we are asking people with symptoms to stay home and for all to follow the advice on the government, NHS and Harrogate Council websites.

Bed Race will be held on the streets and parks of Knaresborough, and in the River Nidd, on Saturday 11 June 2022. It is a whole day spectacle starting around 10 am and running to the evening. Roads will be closed in central Knaresborough, reopening around 6 pm it is hoped.

Bed Race Comes Roaring Back

The conditions of 2020 and 2021 made it impossible to stage Bed Race, as Britain closed down under the weight of the pandemic. So, the last event was in 2019, when the theme was ‘Yorkshire’ and the skies opened in a graphic display of Yorkshire weather.
It was the first year of rain for years, say the organisers, after what has been called ‘Bed Race weather’ blessed the event.

A phenomenon known as the Knaresborough Rain Shadow kept the event dry when communities all around labored in the damp, such as in 2012. That year, there were floods at Pateley Bridge and on the Plain of York just a few miles from Knaresborough, while in the town it remained dry all day.

Kevin said:

We’ll see what this year brings.

But Yorkshire folk are hardy and will not be deterred by a bit of mizzle. The teams don’t mind as they will end up wet in the river in any case.

There were concerns when Bed Race was relaunched for 2022 that the event might have lost its spectacular popularity through the postponements. Also, the organisation of the event might have become somewhat rusty, say the Lions.

 

Martin Brock, the Lions’ coordinator with the teams said:

We didn’t get as many teams entering as usual when, in past years, we have had to reduce the numbers taking part to a 90-race field maximum,” s“We had no need for a lottery of entrants this year as we have 80 teams for the event. That has suited us fine in our first year back

It will still be the same fine, funny and brilliantly inventive display of decorated beds based on the year’s theme, as well as the same fiercely competitive athletic contest around the 2.4-mile course of steep climbs and headlong descents, and finishing, of course, with a 40-yard swim through the River Nidd.

We’re pretty confident the water will be as chilly as ever, but the runners and passengers soon dry off in the beauty of Yorkshire’s June weather.

The Event Itself

Continuity is king when it comes to Bed Race and matters have hardly changed since it was first held in 1966. Bed Race day will begin from 10 am in the leafy surrounds of Knaresborough Castle where the teams and their beds gather in their full fancy dress finery to be judged for the Best Dressed Bed accolades. Winners will be announced at noon.

Headed by the overall champion, the teams then Parade in all their finery from the Castle via the High Street to Conyngham Hall field, setting off at 1 pm.

At Conyngham, the fancy dress and bed decorations will be ruthlessly discarded to be recycled for all sorts of uses, including future Bed Races. The beds are stripped to racing trim for the race itself, which starts at 3 pm. There will be 85 teams of six runners and a passenger.

The race itself is run as time trails with each team going off at intervals of a few seconds. As always, the fastest go first.

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 40-yard swim through the ever icy and fast-flowing waters of the River Nidd.

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

It being Yorkshire, the race is fiercely contested. The last time the Race was held, in 2019, the fastest team were G H Brooks, followed by Knaresborough Striders and Ripon Runners Men. The fastest women’s team were Ripon Runners Girls, who finished ahead of Welly Wheelettes and AFF.

Junior winners were JP’s Mini Disciples of Fitness, and Well Wheelies were the fastest junior mixed team Tewit Youth Band and JP’s Mini Disciples, and Scotton Scorchers were the fastest junior female team.

The much-sought after crown of Best Dressed Bed went to Richard Taylor Runners, whose bed designs were produced by children from the Richard Taylor Primary School. G H Brooks Pannal Mashups were the most entertaining team. A special award was made to the Wellington pub for its many years of continuous support to Bed race, and to volunteer communications group, Raynet, which has provided communications management and advice to the Knaresborough Lions for Bed Race safety for many years.

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 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 sale 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.

Teams use the event to raise money for their own charities. Local groups assist with marshalling from which they receive a stipend, and run stalls at the event to raise funds.

Apart from the nearly 600 runners and riders, there will be hundreds more parading, young and old, supporting the teams, as well as dance groups and marching bands. It is believed that another 1,000 people help in decorating the beds and stitching the costumes. Some 250 volunteers turn out to marshal the event and provide other support to the 34 Knaresborough Lions.

Kevin Lloyd:

It is a real community effort to organise and participate in the great Knaresborough Bed Race.

It typifies the wonderful spirit in the town and is a massive event for Knaresborough’s businesses.

But the event is also marked by warm and welcoming spectators, who help make this a superb family day out for everyone concerned.

First staged in 1966

The first Bed Race was held in 1966 and was fated to be run in stormy weather. Nevertheless, the organisers recognised that they were onto a successful idea, which matched perfectly the up-and-down terrain of Knaresborough, its swimmable river and the layout of its medieval streets.

By the early 1970s, the idea of adding the extra competitive element of decorating the beds and the runners had emerged. Difficult weather conditions have occurred from time -to-time, but the event has never been cancelled – come hell or high water!

From the early days, teams of US servicemen from Menwith Hill and Germans from the Knaresborough twin town, Bebra, have taken part. This has helped spread the concept of racing beds internationally. Today, there are now scores of bed races in North America, Europe, South Africa, Asia and Australasia. In 2012, Knaresborough Lions helped a group establish a bed race in Auckland, New Zealand and in 2016 in Western Australia.

Kevin Lloyd said:

We don’t know if bed racing started here but it was in Knaresborough that it took off.

Because it has spawned so many other events, it began to be called the Great Knaresborough Bed Race 25 years ago.

What we have that other bed races don’t, though, is the spectacular topography of Knaresborough itself: the Gorge, the Castle, the steep ascents, cobbled streets and the River Nidd. The town of Knaresborough is the real hero of Bed Race.

A striking feature of life in Knaresborough in the months leading up to Bed Race day is the sight of teams running through the town in the evenings and at weekends with their beds, preparing for the momentous challenge of Bed Race. And if you venture down to Conyngham Hall in late May you will chance to see a dedicated team or two merging dripping from the River Nidd after having practiced their technique for the river crossing.

Getting to Knaresborough and Road Closures

Free park-and-ride services provided by Transdev will run on the day of Bed Race between Knaresborough Technology Park on Manse Lane and just around the corner at ALM Manufacturing on Grimbald Crag Close.

The parking premises will open in the morning and will close at 6.30 pm in the evening. It is important that people move their cars before this time as the premises will be locked. Like the bus service, parking is free.

Roads in and around Knaresborough are closed to traffic from the middle of the day until around 6.00 pm. The Market, Castlegate and Silver Street, are closed from 10.30 am, and the main roads of the High Street, Bond End, part of Boroughbridge Road and Harrogate Road from noon. There are closures, too, affecting Cheapside, Castlegate, part of Brewerton Street, Fisher Street, High Bond End, Castle Ings and Waterside from Castle Mills to High Bridge.

Race Arena and Field

Spectators coming to Conyngham Hall Field will be able to watch events unfold on an 18-metre Big Screen, designed to operate come rain or shine – the Lions hope for more of the latter. There will be two or three roaming cameras recoding the best of the Parade and the Race, while feeding live footage of the teams swimming the river to the Big Screen.

There will be bars and catering, rides for kids and stalls manned by local charity groups at Conyngham Hall. Entrance to Conyngham Hall fields is by Programme or £3 per adult; kids under sixteen enter free.

Further details are available on www.bedrace.co.uk

The Knaresborough Lions are 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. More information on Lions is available on www.lionsmd105.org/

For more information please contact Nigel Perry, Knaresborough Lions secretary. Telephone 0754 815 6065, nigelahperry@hotmail.com

Teams list for 2022.

Race No.

Team Name

Category

1

GH Brooks Men

Mf

2

Knaresborough Striders Men

Mf

3

Ripon Runners Men

Mf

4

Nidd Valley Men’s A Team

Mf

5

Guardian Alarms

Mf

6

Flying Pullman

Xf

7

The Half Moon

Mf

8

GH Brooks Mixed

Me

9

Nidd Valley Men’s B Team

Mf

10

Harrogate Early Bird Run Crew

Mf

11

Blue Bullet Flyers

Mf

12

Parkrunners

Xf

13

SFC

Xf

14

Knaresborough Rugby Club

Mf

15

Welly Wheelers

Mf

16

Nidd Valley Junior Runners

Mjf

17

Riverside Runners

Mf

18

Scotton Scorchers JFC

Me

19

Harrogate Harriers, Grumpy Old Folk

Mf

20

Harrogate Tri Club

Mf

21

Energy Personified

Mf

22

Supplies Web – Business Products and Services

Mf

23

It’s a COP-Out

Mnf

24

The Forest School

Mf

25

Knaresborough Striders Mixed

Xf

26

Welly Wheeners

Xf

27

Ripon Runners Girls

Ff

28

Wetherby Runners AC

Mnf

29

Nidd Valley Ladies

Ff

30

Blind Jack Explorer Scouts

Mnf

31

Oxfam

Me

32

Meadowside Malingerers

Me

33

JP’s Mini Disciples of Fitness

Mjf

34

The Rocket Men

Me

35

Techbuyer

Mf

36

RAF Menwith Hill

Xe

37

Welly Wheelies

Fjf

38

Welly Warriors

Mf

39

Welly Wheelettes

Ff

40

Aspin Avengers

Xe

41

AFF (Armed Forces Fitness)

Xne

42

Badgered Into Running

Xf

44

HACS1

Me

45

HACS2

Me

46

Pelsis

Xf

49

Piccadilly Players

Xe

50

Knaresborough Revolution

Mf

51

Harrogate Town AFC Community Foundation

Xnf

52

Harrogate Round Table

Me

53

Juggernauts

Xe

54

Turner’s Tearaways

Me

55

St John Fisher’s Catholic High School

Me

56

Hoyer

Me

58

De Vere Hotels

Xe

59

Monkton Meanderers

Xf

60

North Yorkshire Horizons

Xe

61

Tewit Youth Band

Mje

62

1st Scriven Scouts sponsored by AMEY

Mje

63

1st Knaresborough Scouts

Mje

64

Raworths

Me

65

Fountains Abbey and Brimham Rocks

Xe

66

Aspin Owlers

Me

67

Aspin Angels

Xe

68

FOKSJ A Team

Xe

69

FOKSJ B Team

Xe

70

50 Shades of Green

Xe

71

HENCHshaws

Xne

73

Dave’s Dream Team

Xe

74

Knaresborough Air Cadets

Xje

75

Meadowside Maidens

Fe

76

Harrogate Symphony Orchestra

Xe

78

Ortial Technologies

Me

79

Scrambled Legs

Xe

80

Rogue Red Kite Runners

Fe

81

HGATE Challengers

Fe

82

Kate’s Crew

Fne

83

Piccadilly Hybrids

Me

84

Make It Wild

Xe

85

St.Michael’s Hospice (North Yorkshire Hospice Care)

Xe

86

Knaresborough Silver Band

Me

M=Male/F=Female/X=Mixed; f=Fast/e=Entertaining; n=New; j=Junior;

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