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Top honour for Three Peaks stalwart John Rawnsley
John Rawnsley has become only the second man to receive a lifetime achievement award from the Yorkshire Cycling Federation.
The 75-year-old from Bingley will receive the award at a luncheon on Sunday, February 24 in recognition of his continued dedication in organising the Three Peaks Cyclo-Cross race for over 50 years.
Rawnsley first organised the event in 1961 and also won it – he competed in 45 of the first 47 events – and has been at the hub of every race since, apart from two years when it was cancelled due to foot-and-mouth outbreaks.
His YCF citation reads: “The Three Peaks has always been the toughest endurance event on the off-road calendar and has gained international stature, with hundreds of riders eager to test themselves over the scenic and most challenging hills in Yorkshire.
“John received the C A Rhodes (Memorial) award (the county’s top cycling honour) in 1993 and has continued to cater for the ever-burgeoning interest in the Three Peaks race.”
After tackling the Three Peaks for the 150th time in 2006 – either running, walking or cycling – Rawnsley said: “No matter how or when you do it, it’s always a new adventure.
“I never do it on my own; it’s always with people, so you could say it’s been a really sociable experience.”
His citation continued: “Despite competing successfully at a high level and gaining medals in several championships, the Bradford Racing Cycling Club member has also worked hard as a coach and official.
“He has been president of the Yorkshire Cyclo-Cross Association since 1975 and, since 2006, has organised national races in Peel Park, Bradford, including two National Championships (the second of which was last weekend), five National Trophy events and an Inter-Area Championship.
“John has also organised various charity rides and triathlons over his beloved Yorkshire Dales.
“He remains a giant within cyclo-cross, for which he was inducted into the British Cycling Hall of Fame in 2010.
“John has, for a large part, been most instrumental in the continued growth of the sport within the county. Yorkshire cycling and their trustees are proud to recognise his massive contribution.”
Rawnsley has been responsible for many riders benefiting from Sports Aid Foundation grants over a 20-year period.