Lehigh students participate in the Lehigh tradition of Bed Races to embrace school spirit on Packer Avenue on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022. The tradition has been around since the 1970s and in the past, students constructed their own beds to highlight their engineering capabilities. (Nahjiah Miller/Photo Editor)

How Bed Races sustain Lehigh spirit


The Lehigh tradition of Bed Races has been around since the 1970s, when students worked together with a team to construct and race their own beds throughout campus. At the time, the races were held up at the top of the Hill, near the Greek houses, said alumnus Robert Tashjian, ‘88. 

After a hiatus, the Alumni Student Association brought the event back in 2007, this time racing past the Memorial Walkway with beds that were already made.

Haley Marks, ‘25, said this change was made to avoid the common crash or crumble of a bed, which used to happen when students built their own.

Last year, the association added new modifications to the event. Marks, member of the Bed Races crowd committee, said last year two teams at a time raced against each other, as opposed to having time trials for all groups. 

Lehigh students participated in the Lehigh tradition of Bed Races to embrace school spirit on Packer Avenue on Nov. 16. (Nahjiah Miller/Photo Editor)

She said last year was the first time the races were held on Packer Avenue, and after the success of last year, they will hold them here again this year. Marks said she hopes the event attracts a larger audience than last year, and that students will bring high energy. 

Although Marks did not race her own bed last year, she helped with the event and worked to raise the energy of the event among spectators.

“(Bed Races) are an important part of keeping the (Lehigh) spirit alive,” Marks said. 

The winners of the Bed Races received trophies. Bed Races is an annual event during Le-Laf week which now takes place on Packer Avenue. (Nahjiah Miller/Photo Editor)

Theodora Chacharone, ‘25, participated in the Bed Races during her freshman year. She said she saw an Instagram story advertising the event and quickly signed up to race. 

“I thought it would be a cool way to get excited for Le-Laf and all the events that were taking place that week,” Chacharone said. 

Chacharone said she and her team decided to get in both the Le-Laf and holiday spirit by dressing up in Christmas attire for the race. She also chose to be one of the two drivers of the bed, directing her team to the finish line. 

Lehigh students takes photo before competing in Lehigh’s tradition of Bed Races on Packer Avenue on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022. (Nahjiah Miller/B&W Staff)

She said participating in the event was special to her. 

“You just feel like you are a part of something bigger than the school— a part of its history,” Chacharone said. 

Tashjian said he remembers Le-Laf week and the Bed Races fondly.

During his freshman year he said he just spectated, but for the following three years, he built and raced a bed with his team. 

Tashjian said all of the students would gather on the Hill to spectate and participate.  

“The crowd was beyond crazy,” Tashjian said. “It’s hard to even describe.” 

He said students used to construct their own beds to highlight their engineering capabilities. 

Tashjian said there were a variety of other traditions that used to occur during Le-Laf week, including a tug of war and a pie eating contest, which Tashijan won twice.

Chacharone said she hopes everyone attends Bed Races, even if they are not racing, as it is still a special event to be a part of.

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1 Comment

  1. Greetings and hello fellow Mountain Hawks…(and for the ancients Engineers) I am so glad that the bed races remain a fixture on South Mountain. Funny but the races in the ancient times were done during Greek Week (is there such a thing at LU? Apologies for not knowing). As noted within the column – the “beds” in those days were constructed by the students. Being engineers, the thinking was that there were enough ME’s to build something “race worthy”. I was a tad surprised to see that these beds are pre-built. Back in the day, each year had a theme and it was fun to see who actually chose to be creative. Likewise, part of the fun was watching who’s bed broke down, fell apart, or actually covered the course. In my four years the only injury witnessed was to a teams ego after the wheels of their bed fell off or the driver proceeded to careen into a curb. All in all good fun and I hope that new events are added into the mix. You’d be surprised how these moments of frivolity make up the fond memories well after graduation. Be well. NC – LU79

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