By Kaitlin Fahey
For a college student, the feeling of not wanting to get out of bed in the morning is all too familiar. Snooze buttons are pressed over and over again in an attempt to seek out just a few more minutes of sheer laziness. Most people typically associate beds with restfulness and peace rather than athleticism. For some people in the world, however, annual bed-racing competitions, in which teams decorate a bed and guide it over land and water, are highly anticipated.
Bed-racing originated in 1966 in the historic English town of Knaresborough by the city’s chapter of Lions Clubs International, a volunteer organization with over 1.3 million members worldwide. The yearly event, known as The Great Knaresborough Bed Race, is staged entirely by volunteers for the purpose of raising money for charity (knaresborough.co.uk).
Bed-racing teams consist of seven people – six to carry the bed, and one passenger. The bed must be on wheels, meet certain size specifications and have a built-in buoyancy aid which allows it to support the passenger for at least five minutes.
The team decorates its bed according to a given theme – for example, the 2013 theme was Myths and Legends – and competes for the coveted title of Best Dressed Bed. After the procession when the teams show off their creations, the bed costuming is removed in preparation for the race.
The 3-kilometer race through the countryside spans both land and water and must be completed in 30 minutes or less. Up to 90 teams can compete in the race, and prizes are awarded for the fastest male, female and co-ed teams, the fastest newcomer team, the Best Dressed Bed and the most entertaining team.
Participation in this quirky competition is not limited to a small town in England, however. In fact, the Kentucky Derby Festival holds a bed-racing competition at Broadbent Arena in Louisville each spring. The event typically has over 40 teams of five, as well as thousands of spectators who can vote on their favorite bed for $1. The proceeds of the competition benefit the Kentucky Derby Festival Foundation as well as a charity chosen by the winning team. (discover.kdf.org)