Downhill World Champion Steve Peat dropped of a check for £15,000 at the Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity in Sheffield, United Kingdom, this week. That's how much the Wharncliffe Weekender mountain bike race, which is managed by Peat, raised in its fourth running in late 2009.
"It's quite surreal," said three-time World Cup winner Peat. "What started out as a bit of fun with a few mates is now becoming a recognised and respected event in its own right. We've been having up to 2,000 hits on our website each week, even six months after the event. I've taken donations from people all over the world, which I hope is raising the profile of the charity as well as our event.
"We've all been stunned and would like to thank everyone for the huge levels of support."
Peaty has been racing for over 17 years and was recently awarded an honorary doctorate from Sheffield Hallam University. He's also received special mention at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards. He recently renewed his contract with the Santa Cruz Syndicate team.
Over the past four years, Peat has helped raise £44,000 for the Weston Park charity. The amount has made a difference to the charity, specifically the Teenage Cancer Unit. Cat Newman from the Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity said her organization was grateful for the donations.
"Originally, we all got involved due to family and friends being treated at Weston Park and take the skills from our day jobs to help co-ordinate the Weekender," said Max Feetham, Co-Organizer of the Weekender. "The group has great synergy; Wendy Duggan does all the administration, Mark Wilson manages our online capabilities, Maxine Gregory oversees corporate sponsorship, Andrew Hardman the course management and construction, Steve Peat brings in the crowds and I apparently boss them all around!"
Last year's event drew 1,000 spectators and 140 riders. Many of the riders camped overnight on farmland, enjoying music and food with the events team.
The 2010 event may take a different format and a date has not yet been announced. More information will be forthcoming at www.wharncliffeweekender.com.