Ripon Runners will be defending their historic 2012 double men’s and ladies’ win at the 48th Great Knaresborough Bed Race this weekend.
For the first time in the race’s history, men’s and women’s teams from the same club finished first place in the race – and Ripon Runners are hoping to secure another double victory on Saturday.
“I think it’s do-able but the other teams are going to be egged on to beat us,” Ripon Runners chairman Chris Bennett, 65, told the Gazette.
“All the other teams will be pulling out all the stops because, of course, what happened last year had never been done before.”
But Dr Bennett, a former GP in Ripon, remains confident his teams are “stronger than ever”.
“We are stronger than ever before – but we don’t know how strong the other teams are.
“It’s not like football, when you play other teams all season. It is unknown territory,” he said.
As the race approaches, meticulous planning by the event’s dedicated volunteer organisers from Knaresborough Lions Club is drawing to a close and the town is ready for the influx of thousands of spectators and competitors.
After 2012’s last minute worries about bad weather and dangerously river water levels, they are hoping for better luck this year.
Teams’ coordinator John Dickson said last year’s problems were down to the wettest spring he could remember.
“On the day before Bed Race the river was above its safety level and we thought we would have to abandon the crossing. But luck and what we call ‘Bed Race Weather’ broke out and the rain stopped, the river dropped a foot and the current calmed down.
“This year things are different. Although it has been a chilly spring there hasn’t been anything like the same amount of rain. While we don’t want to pre-judge conditions on June 8 the river crossing should be okay.”
Mr Dickson added: “As we said last year, the Bed Race will be held whatever happens, come hell or high water.”
The Lido Loonies will be aiming to hold on to the Best Dressed Bed title for the third year running with their entry for this year’s ‘Myths and Legends’ theme and the event is supported by many local businesses and organisers have thanked sponsors for their vital support.
Arrangements for Bed Race Day include a free park and service from Knaresborough Technology Park, a big screen showing footage of the action in Conyngham Hall Grounds, along with stalls and entertainments including a ‘Change a Duvet’ competition with Yorkshire Linen.
l For more information on the Great Knaresborough Bed Race, visit: www.knaresborough.co.uk/bedrace.