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Countdown to virtual Bed Race 2020 begins

Updated: May 4, 2020

You might have assumed that there could be no Great Knaresborough Bed Race this year – but thankfully, you would be wrong. Bed Race is to return on Saturday 13th June in a new form: Bed Race 2020 Unplugged. The Knaresborough Lions are organising this as a virtual event for everyone to enjoy from home. To get things started, we are launching 'Bed in a Window'. What's that? Read on…

It's that time of year when the build-up to the Great Knaresborough Bed Race usually begins. In normal times, you would start to see some of the ninety participating teams training around Knaresborough, with traffic patiently stacking up behind them on the High Street. Around the town and beyond, people would now be comparing training regimes, elaborately ‘dressing’ beds for the parade according to the theme of the year, and speculating on how particular teams might fare in the gruelling 2.4 mile time trial along steep winding streets and through the River Nidd.

Bed Race team training in Knaresborough with viaduct in background
A Bed Race team in training in a normal year (Harrogate Symphony Orchestra, 2019)

But this year is different. No bed teams are out training. People venture outside only for essential activities, and the rest of the time remain confined to their homes. Tourism websites and events listings can offer little more than a long series of cancellations.

We are living through very challenging times, but despite that – and also because of it – the Bed Race organisers, the Knaresborough Lions, want everyone to be able to enjoy and celebrate Bed Race in 2020, as we have every year since 1966 when it first began. We have named this year’s event Bed Race 2020 Unplugged, and it is Bed Race but not quite as you know it.

Bed Race Unplugged is for the people of Knaresborough, and for people everywhere, to join a #stayathome celebration of community spirit, joyful pageantry, gritty athleticism and downright quirkiness.

On the day we cannot attract gatherings or crowds, so there will be nothing to go and see outside, but everyone will be able to enjoy the event from home. We are rising to the challenge of delivering a virtual Bed Race experience for the first time ever. More details will be revealed soon about the main event itself and how you can prepare for it, but meanwhile we want to recreate that feeling of building up to the big day, and share it with people everywhere.

To start things off, we are asking children (and grown-up kids) to make pictures – not photos, but drawings, paintings, collages – of beds. Any kind of beds.

Pictures of beds decorated on the themes of ice cream, trains and football

Anything goes with these pictures – but if you want to remind yourself what a Bed Race ‘bed’ looks like, you can see photos at

The theme for this year’s Bed Race has now been changed to ‘What I’m looking forward to…’ so use that idea when you create your artwork. Please send photos or scanned images of bed pictures to the Bed Race Facebook page at where we will share them for all to enjoy.

If you’re in Knaresborough, put your bed pictures up in your windows. And if you’re not in Knaresborough, do it anyway!

Clipart image of a bed in a window
We know you can do better than this

And finally, a message from Bed Race 2020 Chair Kevin Lloyd: “With your help, we aim to make this year’s 'Bed Race' just as wonderful and memorable as in other years. The Knaresborough Lions look forward to welcoming you to Bed Race 2020 Unplugged.”



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