On May 29th 1984 when the first raft run set sail from Y Felinheli everyone involved was floating into the unknown. Seventeen rafts sailed off and all reached Menai Bridge safely. There was a true sense of adventure then, the fear of the unknown. Cynical mutterings of '...it's never been done before', or 'I wouldn't try to go through the Swellies on a raft'. But there were far more positive approaches, such as 'It's mad, but could be fun. Let's give it a go'.
Such was the success of that very first Run it was decided there and then to organise another for the following year. The Raft Run was born.
The first raft race had been held on a warm Whitsun Bank Holiday when not only the rafts turned up to the start, but also the Coastguards, Beaumaris lifeboat, St. John's Ambulance, Radio Cymru, HTV and thousands of spectators.
All rafts succeeded in completing the run raising £13,000 for a variety of causes. Each year the run got bigger; becoming the largest charity fundraising event in North Wales, raising over £100,000 in the first four years. The Bangor Round Table in conjunction with The Raft Committee took over running the race, and having peaked with 50 entrants, the numbers began to wane with the Lions eventually dropping the race in the late 1980's.
In 2002 The Great Menai Strait Raft Run was resurrected, with the first of the new raft races taking place. Committee chairman Scottie McLeod explained the history: "In 2001, locals at the Mostyn Arms in Menai Bridge approached the Bangor and District Round Table, with a view of re-establishing The Great Menai Strait Raft Run. After consultation with the Caernarfon and District Round Table, it was agreed the run would be resurrected in June 2002. Until this year it was hosted as a joint venture between Bangor and Caernarfon Round Tables. It is now organised by local residents for the benefit of the local community".