With two of the most eagerly awaited Senior championships ever, each featuring a number of likely contenders, day two of the 2012 Championships was always going to be a cracker. With an ultra fast Under-23 men's race to get things going and a local hero going for gold in the Junior Men's race, the day certainly lived up to expectations.
Ian Field was crowned National Cyclo-Cross Champion after a thrilling battle with rival Liam Killeen in the final title race of the weekend at Chantry Park, Ipswich, on Sunday.
Field (pictured above), the 25-year-old Hargroves Cycles rider from Ashford in Kent, crossed the line four seconds ahead of Giant rider Killeen after a dramatic final few hundred metres.
The pair touched wheels as they navigated a tricky off-camber technical section just before the finishing straight, and Killeen hit the deck. Although he got straight back up, Field grabbed his opportunity with both hands and secured his first senior National Championship medal of any colour.
The Belgium-based rider brought form from a strong season of European cross action to the title race, and was clearly determined to better the fourth spot from two years ago which was – until now – his previous best in the Nationals. He put on a commanding performance, leading virtually from start to finish in a classy field which provided him with plenty of challenges.
After Lee Williams (Team Wiggle) had been first to the opening corner, Field was part of a leading group which quickly formed along with Jody Crawforth (Hargroves Cycles) and David Fletcher (Boardman Elite).
By half distance – as they passed what would be the finish line – Killeen took over at the front with Crawforth and Fletcher, but by the time they reached the hurdles the lead group was five-strong with Field coming up with National Trophy Series leader Paul Oldham (Hope Factory Racing).
As they crossed the finish line for the second time Killeen was driving the group, clearly intent on dropping his rivals, and sure enough Fletcher was the first to look likely to fall away.
Meanwhile, ten seconds behind that group was a three-man chase group with Dan Booth (Cult Racing) and two "grand old men" of the sport, former title holder Roger Hammond (unattached) and Nick Craig (Scott).
By the fifth lap the pace had begun to fragment the group, with Oldham and Fletcher visibly suffering trying to hold Killeen’s pace. But Field was biding his time comfortably enough, and on the next lap he attacked Killeen.
However, the Giant rider from Malvern checked the challenge, and countered. With more pace injected into the lead group, the cracks began to show.
Finally, Crawforth, Fletcher and Oldham were left decisively behind. With two laps to go, the leading pair were eight seconds clear of Fletcher and Crawforth, with Oldham another four seconds back. However, half a lap later exiting the woods the reigning champion Oldham had regained the wheel of Fletcher and Crawforth, keeping the race for bronze wide open.
At the bell it was Killeen who was looking very strong at the front, while Oldham had somehow recovered sufficiently to drive the chasing trio. However time had run out to challenge for the title.
The slippery technical section just before the finish straight had claimed a number of victims throughout the weekend, and it was about to play a major part in the fate of the medals. Entering the section for the last time, with the flag in sight, Field and Killeen touched wheels and the Malvern rider went down, leaving Field to power on to what was clearly an emotional victory, while Killeen quickly remounted to take second.
14 seconds later, as Field celebrated, his Hargroves teammate Crawforth narrowly edged out rival Oldham for the final medal spot, while Fletcher, who had ran out of steam in the final lap, finished a lonely fifth. Tom Last, who had been in touch in the early stages, took a fine sixth place after enduring the agony of no-mans-land for the latter stages, while Veteran Nick Craig took an amazing seventh place after spending much of the race with multiple national champion Roger Hammond, who completed his final Nationals in 12th spot.
Ian Field: “It was my first National cross title and it means a hell of a lot to me. I felt strong in the race and got everything right on the day. Since I was 15 I've been trying to win this one.
“The racing in Europe has helped no end, the last couple of seasons have worked wonders for my riding. I usually feel burned out by the time I get to the Nationals but I had a plan for today and I stuck to it. I went to America earlier in the season to get some racing in and get some UCI points and the plan paid off today.”
Liam Killeen: “I'm happy with my performance today but we had a touch of wheels on the last lap and I fell but that’s racing, so I'll have to wait for next year. I've had a good winter so far and things are going well with the training for the Olympics.”
Jody Crawforth: “I'm fairly happy with third place. I didn't think I'd be racing today, I woke up on Wednesday morning and couldn't move my neck. I think I must have slept awkwardly, so I had to go to the doctors to sort it out. I had to try and put that out of my mind and just get on with the race but I can't really use that as an excuse today.
“I felt happy when Liam was towing us round but when Ian went I just didn't have the pace to go with him. Today showed that Ian is very fast when he's on his best day, Liam’s obviously a talent but I didn't have the best day but I'm happy with third all things considered.”
WOMEN (Senior, Junior & Veteran)
Helen Wyman (Kona FSA) won a seventh National title after shrugging off doubts over her participation because of illness ahead of the title race at Chantry Park in Ipswich.
The vastly-experienced rider crossed the line around a minute ahead of Nikki Harris (Telenet Fidea CT), while Annie Last (Milka Brentjens MTB RT) was just behind in third.
Wyman was at the front from the off, alongside Harris and Gabby Day (The Chain Stay-Renner), while Last had what was by her standards a disappointing start. But she battled up quickly, and by the end of the first lap she was challenging the leaders already.
As they headed into the wooded section for the first time Wyman had six seconds on Harris, while Day was two seconds back, and Last another three seconds behind – but closing. On the back straight Last overtook Day, and meanwhile Wyman had extended her lead over Harris to around ten seconds heading for the third lap.
Day was pushing hard to re-take third from Last, but she came off in the woods. Although she picked herself up and continued on, she was effectively out of the running for the title. Wyman continued to power on and by lap four was 31 seconds up on Harris, while Last had tagged onto her wheel and was starting to challenge for silver.
Harris attacked out of every corner on the final lap in a bid to shake off Last, but she eventually prepared herself for a sprint finish. The deciding factor was Last pulling her foot out of the pedal with 50 metres to go, and although she recovered she could not make up the gap and had to settle for third.
A disappointed Day took fourth, whilst Louise Robinson (Stourbridge CC) was fifth, taking the Veterans’ crown in the process from team-mate Isla Rowntree who was sixth. Helen McGregor picked up the bronze medal.
Meanwhile, the leader of the National Trophy Series, Hannah Payton (The Kinesis Morvelo Project), successfully defended her National Junior title, finishing seventh, with Beth Crumpton taking second in the category in 10th just ahead of Rebecca Preece, who was third.
Helen Wyman: “That was an important result for me. I've been sick for a couple of weeks and wasn't too sure if I would race today. I've had quite an emotional time of things recently, I was leading a major competition in Belgium which I lost because of this illness so I had to pull out everything today to get my confidence back.
“The girls are riding so well in Europe this year and it’s so close, so to come here and win is special, this is where I grew up and used to race and to see people when I was 14/15 and it feels like they don't care if I win or not they are just here to support me and are happy with whatever I do.
“I've got the Worlds soon and I've got the legs so I just need to get healthy for it and I know I can get a top five place if I do.”
Nikki Harris: “Silver again, I really wanted to put up a good fight for the win today but it didn't come. I've been the best British cross rider all Winter as well but I've been in bed ill coming into today but I didn't want to say anything and come up with a load of excuses beforehand.
“It affected me a bit but Helen had a really good ride today and she deserved to win but I would have liked to stay with her for a few more laps.”
Annie Last: “I’ve not done much cross so I didn’t get the best gridding. I had a slow start so I had to chase hard for a lap to get to the front. I got onto Gabby then onto Nikki. We tried to chase on to Helen but she was flying. So me and Nikki started racing for a bit which meant that gap just got bigger. Coming into the sprint Nikki got into the front. There was a bit of a gap and I started to close it then pulled my foot out and there you go...”
Steve James (Hargroves Cycles) continued his domination of Under-23 cyclo-cross with a winning performance in the National Championships at Chantry Park in Ipswich on Sunday.
But in a close finish which saw the top five riders cross the line within 24 seconds of each other, he did not have it all his own way and was made to work hard for victory. A fast pace saw James at the front along with Scott rider Kenta Gallagher and Ben Sumner (Beeline Bikes), while behind them Jack Clarkson (Hope Factory Racing) was close behind.
As they passed through the wooded section for the first time Clarkson made contact along with Grant Ferguson (Boardman Elite) and the group of five pulled away from the chasing Luke Gray (Baboco Cycles) around five seconds back in no man’s land.
But James, Gallagher and Ferguson pulled slightly clear of Clarkson and Sumner on the second lap, and that gap was to stay for much of the race. Shortly after James and Gallagher gapped Ferguson by about five seconds towards the end of the second circuit, while Clarkson began to lose touch and Gray closed up to him.
After James had done much of the early driving, Gallagher took his turn on the front on lap four and had a dig, but James looked determined to stay with his rival and the increased pace saw them extend the lead to the chasing Gray and Ferguson to eight seconds, while Clarkson and Sumner were another five seconds off the back.
But by the penultimate lap Sumner had dropped right back, while James attacked Gallagher in the woods and had a small gap by the time they emerged, while Gray and Ferguson were still locked in battle.
With enough of a gap to be assured of victory James eased off on the final few corners, while Gallagher came home second, eight seconds behind.
There was a ferocious sprint for the final medal between Ferguson and Gray, with the Scot just edging his rival.
Steven James: “I've been nervous about this race for ages so to come away with the win is unbelievable. I knew Kenta would be strong today and be the main competition.
“The race went perfectly for me, I drove it along for the first few laps to try and split everyone up and Kenta and myself managed to get away from the rest of the field which is ideal because then I only had Kenta to think about and not a big group. That’s how I like to race.
“I timed my attack just right and made the break on the penultimate lap and got around 15 seconds which was enough to stay away. To beat Kenta is a real confidence boost because he is such a class rider and its shown me the level I want to be at.”
Kenta Gallagher: “Not quite today, it was a hard race but I knew it would always be a hard race. My last race was Bradford so I can't really say I came into the race fully prepared.
“I was going ok and I felt pretty comfortable but I made a mistake just before the wooded section and Steve got the gap on me and when that happened I just couldn't get it back. I thought about waiting for Luke and Grant and see if it would come down to a sprint but I just held it to the finish. I am pleased with second though. A medal at the Nationals is always special.”
Grant Ferguson: “I had a second row start so I had to get past a few folk in that first half lap. There was a crash so I lost some places but I thought I should just chase steady. I got back into that front group and just hung onto the wheels.
“There was some folk getting dropped and then Steve went away and I was on my own for a bit. And then I just held on then Luke (Gray) came along and with Jack (Clarkson). Then it fragmented and I just hung on with Luke.
“We managed to get the leaders back for a bit but then Stevo (James) set at it and Kenta was just hanging in. Final lap and I went early for the sprint – sprinting isn’t my big thing but Luke came back going into that final section. So I thought “I’ll run wide and try and win the sprint.”
Defending champion and local hero Hugo Robinson (XRT-Elmy Cycles) secured the 2012 National Junior Championship with a hard-fought victory at Chantry Park.
Robinson crossed the line just six seconds ahead of race-long rival Alex Welburn (Cycleshack-Forme Coaching), while Joe Moses (Paul Milnes-Bradford Olympic) won a close three-up sprint for the bronze medal.
From the start it was Cestria Cycles’ Adam Martin who led out the field, with Harry Franklin (Hargroves Cycles) on his wheel, but Robinson came through quickly and continued his effort, putting the hammer down to leave Martin struggling to stay with him.
At the end of the first lap Robinson and Martin had Joe Moses for company, but as he headed into the woods for the second time Robinson had established a three second lead with Moses second.
Martin appeared to have been caught in a crash at a hairpin just before the finish line and dropped back, which allowed Welburn and Tom Armstrong (Wheelbase) to catch him. However, Martin later tweeted "The report is wrong, I wasn't caught in any crashes #noexcuses."
Robinson’s lead was extended to ten seconds as they headed for the woods for the second time, while Moses had been joined by Welburn in a battle for second, with Armstrong now two seconds off.
The tough battle for second pushed the pace up and they closed to Robinson, just four seconds behind with three laps to go, while Welburn had dropped Moses who was another four seconds back.
Robinson was struggling to pull clear, and with two laps to go Welburn actually caught his rival, taking over at the front for a brief spell, while behind the leading duo Jake Womersley (Sportscover), Moses and Armstrong were battling for bronze.
Not used to being off the front, Robinson responded in style and hit back to lead by ten seconds at the bell, and by 12 seconds mid-way round the last lap, while Welburn looked resigned to second.
However, the big battle was for third place between Armstrong, Moses and Womersley, and although it was Armstrong who looked the strongest Moses pushed him out at the line by half a bike length.
Hugo Robinson: “I'm dead chuffed with that result, it was such a tough race and so hard to predict and such a quick course. It was tough to get any kind of gap and early on in the race I couldn’t get away. When Alex came up to me the race changed. I thought he was going to catch me at one point but I had to ease off a bit because I just couldn't keep attacking. It was fantastic to do the double and to win at my home race is just wonderful.”
Alex Wellburn: “I'm pleased with the silver but at the same time I'm disappointed not to win. I felt I rode really well but I just didn't have that edge today that Hugo had.
“I had good start but I wasn't the fastest and I was in sixth place when the race had settled down so I had to get back one by one but I used a lot of energy doing that. When I got to Hugo I hadn't recovered enough to do anything and had to sit back. I had a touch of cramp with a couple of laps to go so I just couldn't sprint out of the corners, so I had to keep my riding smooth, I didn't want to blow and not finish.”
Joe Moses: “I got off to a good start – third or fourth wheel into the first corner. Once Hugo got to the front he started ripping it up, keeping pressure and – he was really hard to stick with. We managed to stick with him for the first few laps but fell back from there.
“Then Jake Womersley and Tom Armstrong caught up with me and we worked together. I managed to keep towards the front through the technical section towards the end and hold them off at the line.”
RESULTS - DAY 2
1 Ian Field Hargroves Cycles/Trant/Next/Spec 1 h 2 m 8 s
2 Liam Killeen Giant Factory Off Road Team @ 0 m 3 s
3 Jody Crawforth Hargroves Cycles/Trant/Next/Spec @ 0 m 17 s
4 Paul Oldham Hope Factory Racing @ 0 m 20 s
5 David Fletcher Boardman Elite @ 0 m 45 s
6 Tom Last Team IG/Sigma Sport @ 1 m 57 s
7 Nick Craig Team Scott UK @ 2 m 20 s
8 Simon Richardson Team IG/Sigma Sport @ 2 m 40 s
9 William Bjergfelt Individual Member @ 2 m 44 s
10 Lee Williams Team Wiggle @ 3 m 17 s
11 Crispin Doyle Swindon RC @ 3 m 26 s
12 Roger Hammond Individual Member @ 4 m 15 s
13 Stuart Bowers Hargroves Cycles/Trant/Next/Spec @ 4 m 26 s
14 Matthew Barrett Cycle Shack/Forme Coaching @ 4 m 30 s
15 Stephen Adams Team IG/Sigma Sport @ 4 m 33 s
16 Chris Metcalfe Charge Bikes @ 4 m 44 s
17 Darren Atkins Team Jewson/Thule/Kinesis/CNP/MI @ 4 m 44 s
18 Tony Fawcett Blackhawkbikes.com @ 4 m 44 s
19 Dave Collins Hope Factory Racing @ 4 m 49 s
20 Daniel Booth Hope Factory Racing @ 5 m 4 s
21 Jamie Newall Team Corley Cycles/Cervelo/Alpha RT @ 5 m 12 s
22 Michael Cotty Wheelbase.co.uk/Cannondale @ 5 m 13 s
23 Darren Barclay Arctic - Premier RT @ 5 m 29 s
24 Dieter Droger Team Cystic Fibrosis @ 5 m 39 s
25 Lewis Craven Wheelbase.co.uk/Cannondale @ 5 m 45 s
26 Daniel Lewis RAF CC @ 6 m 19 s
27 Simon Maudsley Crosstrax @ 6 m 20 s
28 David Lines Endura-Pedalpower Development Team @ 6 m 45 s
29 Andrew Naylor Ashfield RC @ 6 m 52 s
30 Noel Clough Wheelbase.co.uk/Cannondale @ 7 m 2 s
31 Scott Chalmers Dream CC/Zero @ 7 m 12 s
32 Keith Murray Hope Factory Racing @ 7 m 25 s
33 Gareth Whittall Clay Cross RT @ 7 m 36 s
34 Andrew Waterman Vicious Velo @ 7 m 49 s
35 James Thompson Hope Factory Racing @ 7 m 53 s
36 Ross Tricker X RT - Elmy Cycles @ 7 m 58 s
37 Matthew Denby www.Zepnat.com RT/Kuota/GSG @ 8 m 3 s
38 Paul Robertson Sportstest.co.uk @ 8 m 17 s
39 Tim Guy Iceni Velo @ 8 m 29 s
40 Steven Clarke Wheelbase.co.uk/Cannondale @ 8 m 58 s
41 Jonathan Limebear Batley CC/Hargreaves @ 1 lap
42 Malcolm Lewis MTS Cycle Sport/Inkland/Elvet RT @ 1 lap
43 Paul Sheers Vicious Velo @ 1 lap
44 Gareth Barnes Walkers CC @ 1 lap
45 Mark Smith Crawley Wheelers @ 1 lap
46 Jonathan Watson Charge Bikes @ 1 lap
47 James Dalton Evans Cycles RT @ 1 lap
48 James Gelsthorpe Bourne Wheelers CC @ 1 lap
49 Ben Spurrier Rapha Condor CC @ 1 lap
50 Jules Birks VC Londres @ 1 lap
51 Philip Glowinski VC Londres @ 1 lap
52 David Rees Dulwich Paragon CC @ 1 lap
53 Colin Miller Coventry RC/Ridecov.co.uk @ 1 lap
54 Benjamin Lewis Finsbury Park CC @ 1 lap
55 Douglas Fox Crawley Wheelers @ 1 lap
56 Stuart Nisbet Crawley Wheelers @ 1 lap
57 George Thomas Crawley Wheelers @ 1 lap
58 Nigel Langridge Crawley Wheelers @ 1 lap
59 Gregory Needham Neon-Digital.co.uk @ 1 lap
1 Hargroves Cycles/Trant/Next/Spec 17 points
2 Team IG/Sigma Sport 29 points
3 Hope Factory Racing 43 points
4 Wheelbase.co.uk/Cannondale 77 points
5 Crawley Wheelers 156 points
1 Helen Wyman Kona / FSA Factory Team 43 m 45 s
2 Nikki Harris Telenet Fidea Cycling Team @ 1 m 2 s
3 Annie Last Milka-Brentjens Mountain Bike RT @ 1 m 2 s
4 Gabriella Day The Chainstay - Renner @ 2 m 14 s
5 Louise Robinson (v) Stourbridge CC @ 3 m 11 s
6 Isla Rowntree (v) Stourbridge CC @ 3 m 49 s
7 Hannah Payton (j) The Kinesis Morvelo Project @ 4 m 37 s
8 Delia Beddis Vicious Velo @ 4 m 44 s
9 Diane Lee www.Zepnat.com RT/Kuota/GSG @ 4 m 55 s
10 Bethany Crumpton (J) Halesowen A & CC @ 5 m 18 s
11 Rebecca Preece (J) Red Rose Olympic CC @ 6 m 16 s
12 Leona Kadir La Fuga - Sigma Sport @ 6 m 18 s
13 Sarah Naylor Ashfield RC @ 6 m 40 s
14 Emily Barnes (J) Rapha Condor CC @ 6 m 52 s
15 Imogen Buick (J) Moda-Diablo Racing @ 6 m 52 s
16 Anna Buick University of Manchester CC @ 6 m 56 s
17 Claire Beaumont Rapha Condor CC @ 7 m 29 s
18 Keira McVitty (J) www.buzzcycles.co.uk/Forme @ 7 m 55 s
19 Nikola Butler Inverse RT/Cyclaim.co.uk @ 7 m 55 s
20 Joanne McRae Look Mum No Hands ! @ 7 m 58 s
21 Nicola Hamilton Look Mum No Hands ! @ 8 m 13 s
22 Helen Clayton Lichfield City CC @ 8 m 30 s
23 Jessica Stone Malvern Cyclesport @ 8 m 34 s
24 Helen MacGregor (V) VC Lincoln/Pygott& Crone/B&O/SPS @ 9 m 7 s
25 Elizabeth Clayton (V) Lichfield City CC @ 9 m 23 s
26 Verity Appleyard XCRacer.com @ 9 m 45 s
27 Emma Johnson X RT/Elmy Cycles @ 9 m 52 s
28 Phoebe Sneddon Mulebar Girl @ 9 m 52 s
29 Sarah Woods (V) Wight Mountain @ 10 m 4 s
30 Louise Mahe Mulebar Girl @ 1 lap
31 Lynn Bland (V) Norton Wheelers @ 1 lap
32 Rebecca Keogh Solihull CC @ 1 lap
33 Louise Rickard (V) X RT/Elmy Cycles @ 1 lap
1 Hannah Payton (j) The Kinesis Morvelo Project
2 Bethany Crumpton (J) Halesowen A & CC
3 Rebecca Preece (J) Red Rose Olympic CC
1 Louise Robinson (v) Stourbridge CC
2 Isla Rowntree (v) Stourbridge CC
3 Helen MacGregor (V) VC Lincoln/Pygott& Crone/B&O/SPS
1 Hugo Robinson X RT/Elmy Cycles 41 m 20 s
2 Alex Welburn Cycle Shack/Forme Coaching @ 0 m 5 s
3 Joseph Moses Paul Milnes/Bradford Olympic RC @ 0 m 13 s
4 Tom Armstrong Wheelbase.co.uk/Cannondale @ 0 m 13 s
5 Jake Womersley Sportscover Altura RT @ 0 m 13 s
6 Adam Martin Cestria Cycles RT @ 1 m 17 s
7 George Thompson Sleaford Wheelers CC @ 1 m 19 s
8 Nicholas Barnes www.Zepnat.com RT/Kuota/GSG @ 1 m 36 s
9 William Worrall Towy Racing CC @ 1 m 36 s
10 Matthew Woods Hargroves Cycles/Trant/Next/Spec @ 1 m 38 s
11 Matthew Hargroves Hargroves Cycles/Trant/Next/Spec @ 1 m 52 s
12 Jack Humphreys Wheelbase.co.uk/Cannondale @ 1 m 59 s
13 Edward McParland GT Racing UK @ 2 m 35 s
14 Matthew Thompson Cardiff JIF/Cyclopaedia @ 2 m 42 s
15 Iain Paton Square Wheel Cycles @ 2 m 44 s
16 Joseph Fox Rapha Condor CC @ 2 m 57 s
17 James Jobber Colchester Rovers CC @ 3 m 5 s
18 Harry Franklin Hargroves Cycles/Trant/Next/Spec @ 3 m 10 s
19 Michael Thompson TEF / Richardsons RT @ 3 m 10 s
20 Jacob James Halesowen A & CC @ 3 m 52 s
21 Edwyn Oliver-Evans Boneshakersbikes.com/Trek @ 4 m 50 s
22 Chris McGovern Sutton CC /De Ver Cycles @ 5 m 0 s
23 Aaron Westgarth Kings Cliffe Flyers CC @ 5 m 7 s
24 Jordan Gell VC Lincoln/Pigott& Chrone/B&O/SPS @ 5 m 8 s
25 Joe Atkins Coventry RC/Ridecov.co.uk @ 5 m 30 s
26 Patrick Cook Ipswich BC @ 7 m 10 s
27 James Garrett Rugby Velo @ 1 lap
1 Steven James Hargroves Cycles/Trant/Next/Spec 48 m 33 s
2 Kenta Gallagher Team Scott UK @ 0 m 7 s
3 Grant Ferguson Boardman Elite @ 0 m 17 s
4 Luke Gray Baboco Cycling Team @ 0 m 17 s
5 Jack Clarkson Hope Factory Racing @ 0 m 33 s
6 Ben Sumner Beeline Bicycles RT @ 1 m 11 s
7 Lee Westwood Cycle Shack/Forme Coaching @ 1 m 46 s
8 Andrew Hargroves Hargroves Cycles/Trant/Next/Spec @ 1 m 48 s
9 Taylor Johnstone Team de Ver @ 2 m 49 s
10 Matthew Gee Wheelbase.co.uk/Cannondale @ 3 m 18 s
11 Daniel Arblaster GVC Edmond de Rothschild @ 3 m 34 s
12 Martin Woffindin Cycle Sport Pendle @ 3 m 34 s
13 David Nichols Van Eyck Sport @ 4 m 29 s
14 Bruce Dalton Individual Member @ 4 m 33 s
15 Robert Watson Paul Milnes RT/Bradford Olympic @ 5 m 16 s
16 Lewis Tamai-Wilson Ashfield RC @ 1 lap
17 Jeremy Hicks Rugby Velo @ 1 lap
Club/Team standings after day 2
British Cycling would like to thank the organising team, officials and everyone else who helped promote this event. Our sport could not exist without the hundreds of people, many of them unpaid volunteers, who put in many hours of hard work running events, activities and clubs.