“Chaiway to Hillel,” “Fast and Furious Feminists,” “Mission ContrOL” and “Pi Beta Bed” were some of the team names competing in this year’s Bed Races, pushing toward the finish line to champion the decade-long tradition.
The annual Bed Races on Packer Avenue took place on Wednesday night with 40 teams competing, which is double last year’s count.
The day before the deadline for teams to register for Bed Races closed, 30 teams were already registered, and in a last-minute decision, the Association of Student Alumni made a marketing push. By the time registration closed, the other 10 teams signed up, ready to race.
Starting at 5 p.m., teams of five race to obtain the titles of first, second and “best team theme.” The winner is decided through a bracket system, where two beds rush down the road at a time.
“Lehigh Ice Hockey” and “Valhalla Viking Warriors” made it to the final races, with the hockey team clinching the 2023 victory.
The team, made up of first-year men’s ice hockey players Ted Justicz, ‘27; Maxwell Toomey, ‘27; Niko Cadoret, ‘27; Oliver Hall, ‘27; and Nikolas Cinicola, ‘27, cheered as they pushed their bed across the finish line. They sported their jerseys and ice hockey helmets instead of the provided bike helmets.
Cadoret said the whole hockey team cheered the team on throughout all six races.
“The boys were here to show out, supporting us the whole time,” Cadoret said. “Every year, sophomores, juniors, even fifth years, everyone showed up.”
Jermaine Marshall, ‘24, the president of the Association of Student Alumni, credits the increase in student participation as a result of the marketing efforts by the association’s executive board and their adviser, Melissa Climent.
Marshall said both Ethan Riester, ‘25, the director of traditions, and CIiment sent out promotional emails for Bed Races a month in advance of the event. Additionally, Marshall encouraged the association’s marketing director, Nina Vecchione, ‘26, to do as much social media promotion and engagement as possible.
Marshall also believes word of mouth helped, with members spreading information and encouraging sign-ups. He said he personally messaged many GroupMe groups encouraging seniors to participate for the last time.
Five Little Piggies, a team made of Corena Munroe, ‘24; Liat Blumenfeld, ‘24; Jaclyn Sasson, ‘24; Emma Closter, ‘24; and Lucie Swan, ‘24, is a team of all seniors. They said the team name came from the song “Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf,” which they also chose for their walkup song.
The team agreed school spirit and tradition are important to them and they wanted to participate in one of the biggest events leading up to Le-Laf before they graduate.
“It’s our last year at Lehigh, and we’ve watched it for the last three years and didn’t want to leave here saying we didn’t do it,” Sasson said.
Marshall said the planning for next year’s Bed Races begins immediately after this year’s, with the association’s general meeting about what did and didn’t work, ways to improve, and new ideas to attempt to implement.
In August, planning the nitty gritty of what exactly will happen during Bed Races begins, Marshall said. Discussions include what performances should happen during Bed Races, what food to offer, dealing with the necessary safety protocols and getting Packer Avenue blocked off, as well as as ensuring Lehigh police and EMS will be at the event.
“In terms of manpower and the time and work that goes into Bed Races, it is by far the most time-consuming for (the Association of Student Alumni),” Marshall said.
Christopher Haines, ‘26, participated in Bed Races in 2022 with friends dressed up as different D.C. superheroes.
Now, as the director of administration of the Association of Student Alumni, he has experienced a much different side of the annual tradition.
All members of the association get split into various teams to help ensure the Bed Races go smoothly, such as set-up, judges, crowd control and pit crew.
“It’s a lot more than I expected. It’s definitely very logistically sound, we have almost every possibility accounted for,” Haines said. “Being a participant behind the scenes, you see how many people we have in so many different roles.”
Jerry Lo, ‘25, said this was his first time attending Bed Races, skipping out his first and sophomore years.
“I figured, you know what, it’s a good atmosphere, and I heard it’s good competition, so I figured I’d come out and show up,” Lo said.
He attributes high attendance this year to the growing student population and the competitive atmosphere that ignites student spirit.
Marshall said people sometimes get lost in the idea that the Lehigh football team may not be the best, which may disincentivize “giving the full school spirit.”
But he said Bed Races is one event that provides a space to spread good spirit.
“This is something that allows the community to come together,” Marshall said. “This is one of the biggest things we do that continues the legacies of those who have come before us.”