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Bed Race 2024 - Another fantastic day

A week on from the 57th Great Knaresborough Bed Race and time to reflect on what was another great event. Like a wedding, it is months of planning followed by one fantastic day which seems to be over in the blink of an eye.

We are always in the lap of the weather gods. 2023 delivered blistering sunshine which led to several incidents of heatstroke. As the beds made their way up to the castle to finish assembling their finery, this year was more overcast but thankfully with no rain. Barriers started to go up in the Market Place at 10am as road closures kicked in and the judges began their arduous task of judging the best dressed bed.

This year’s theme, suggested by long-term visitors from Somerset Caroline Fletcher and Joe Fielder was ‘Great Inventions And Technology Through The Ages’. It was clear from floats arriving that once again, participants had thought long and hard about what to do with a number of outstanding efforts. The Rocket Men were the team to beat, having seized the best dressed prize in 2022 and 2023, but they soared to the top once again with their lunar landing module. They were pushed hard this year for the prize with 1st Scriven Scouts and Hymas Hobblers narrowly missing out, both with steam train efforts.

The Rocket Men

1st Scriven Scouts

Hymas Hobblers

The clock of St.John’s Church struck 1pm and the parade set off, led off by the Leeds Pipe Band in their finery, the VIPs and visitors from Bebra, and the best dressed bed with the banner paraded by the local Air Training Corp.

Leeds Pipe Band

Thousands gathered in the Market Place, stretching down the closed High Street and Bond End as the parade made its way into Conyngham Hall. Months of work is then casually discarded in a HACS skip for recycling as the participants get down to the serious business of running.

Thousands of spectators line the Knaresborough High Street

For those who have never experienced taking part in the race, the 2.3 mile course leads you along Waterside and up Castle Ings, then taking in the parade route before the beds cross High Bridge and enjoy a swim through the River Nidd to the finish back at Conyngham Hall. GH Brooks had set the mark to win in 2023 of 13’05, and yet again, no one was able to catch them. After a slightly delayed start for the race, they seized first prize, shaving over 2 seconds from last year’s time in the process. There was redemption for the Knaresborough Striders Men’s team who lost a wheel in 2023 and did not finish. A surging overtake on a now sunny afternoon saw them finish ahead of rivals Nidd Valley Men, with all three podium finishers coming home in incredibly quick times of under 14 minutes.

GH Brooks

Ripon Runners Ladies once again seized the fastest ladies crown with a fantastic performance, finishing in 13th place overall from a starting position of 28th. However, throughout the field, there were some fantastic performances and whether you came first or last, a medal and a great sense of pride awaited the soggy runners as they emerged from the Nidd. A full list of results and prize winners can be seen here:

Ripon Ladies

The Directors entertained the crowds ahead of the prize giving, the road closures were lifted, the streets were swept, and that was that for many as they headed home or to enjoy live music at Henshaws’ Bed Fest. A hardy group of Knaresborough Lions and volunteers were left behind to clear away, with a number returning to Conyngham Hall on Sunday morning, including visitors from London, for one final litter pick ahead of returning the land to North Yorkshire Council.

Help gratefully received with litter picking from visitors from London

Knaresborough Lions are left to their wash-up after the event ahead of starting planning in September for 2025. Pencil June 14th into your diary.

We would like to thank all who made this year’s event such a success, as without the local community, we could not undertake such a feat.

However, we need to think about beer before that, as the club is hosting a 3 day beer festival as part of the town’s FEVA festival. Come and join us for a pint at Knaresborough House between August 16th and 18th, and enjoy some great live music at Picnic in the Park on the afternoon of Saturday 17th. Cheers!