The Ron Pickering Memorial Award for Services to Athletics, awarded annually by the British Athletics Writers Association was this year awarded to Dame Mary Peters, the 1972 Olympic Pentathlon Champion.

Mary P, as she has always been known, has been a great friend to the Pickering Family for many years, and shares the belief that Sport, and athletics in particular, has a great value to society in general in times of trouble.

Ron believed that Sport could make a Difference and Mary has worked tirelessly to prove that is true, particularly throughout great times of unrest in her own country of Northern Ireland. Putting herself in great danger at times, but always believing that even at the height of “The Troubles” the public would come together in celebration of sporting success.

She also worked tirelessly to build the track that bears her name in her home city of Belfast, so that the youth can benefit from Athletics, and Mary Peters Foundation, much like the Ron Pickering Memorial Fund tries to do, helps young Sportsmen and Women to achieve success in sport.

She is a major part of an incredible tradition of female multi-eventers that happily includes a certain Jean Desforges as a former British Pentathlon record holder, but the Golden Girls that include her great friend Mary Rand, and more recently Denise Lewis and Jessica Ennis Hill, all owe a great deal to this Lady.

But she will be forever linked to Ron Pickering from that great day in Munich some 45 years ago, when the emotion and friendship that they shared, crept into the commentary on the last event of two great days of struggle:

“Now come on Mary, you need the run of your lifetime. Keep on going…..

Mary, come on, you’ve got 2 yards to make…

Rosendahl hits the tape 1st….Peters 4th, but is it enough?”

Well, by 1/10th of a second it was enough, and as our great friend Cliff Morgan said of her:

“Much more than an Olympic Champion, A real Jewel of the World.”

Dame Mary Peters.