, Newburyport, MA


August 1, 2013

A Bed Race rivalry and a record

Six years removed from only Bed Race appearance, Pirates of Merrimack still holds record


Seemingly, 1:02 has been as elusive as the High Street Mile mark of 4:03.

“I’ve been going back every year, telling myself I’m going to win it back,” said Winn. “I’ve done everything I can. I’ve built every kind of bed. I’ve gotten people to run and I still haven’t won it back yet.”

“My goal in life is the get that record back.”

Gamesmanship at the Starting Line

At race time, temperatures well into the 90s, Schonemann cased the talent. There was the Winner’s Circle team, made up of veteran road runners who looked like four-minute milers; an athletic-looking group that called itself Talladega Nights; and of course perennial champion Simply Sweet.

Winn, whose team was focusing on theme, was also sizing up the competition and was unimpressed with the Pirates.

“I didn’t even look at them as a threat because they had no swivel wheels,” Winn said. “I counted them out at the beginning.”

Four fixed wheels, no swivels, Schonemann said, was the key.

“Swivel wheels wobble when they go too fast,” he said. “I aligned four fixed wheels to the exact millimeter.”

Said Vartabedian, “Our bed was a milestone for German engineering.”

It was at the starting line, seconds before the gun, that Winn dropped a bombshell.

“So there I am at the starting line, and Kevin tells me that anyone can enter the parade,” Schonemann said. “I always assumed we had to win the race. It actually took a little of the pressure off.”

‘I had nothing left’

The photo of the “Pirates of the Merrimack” that ran in the next day’s Daily News was worth 1,000 words: the five pushers overwhelmed with exhaustion and the flag-wielding Davis, the 11th-hour addition, on top.

“I was just hanging on,” said Schonemann. “I had nothing left.”

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