‘YOU’VE earned it Malcolm!’ trumpeted the headline of an article published in the Examiner back in 1972.
The photograph on this page captured a civic welcome at Bradley Youth Club that was attended by Huddersfield’s Mayor and Mayoress, Ald and Mrs W Eric Whittaker and other officials.
Together they are seen raising a toast to an elated young athlete – 20-year-old Malcolm Pickup – hoisted onto the shoulders of fellow club members Peter Cramp and Keith Charlton.
With a bottle of champagne held high, Malcolm celebrates the completion of a sponsored lone marathon from London to Huddersfield which raised a total of £1,000 for Cancer Relief.
That was a considerable sum in the early 1970s.
Throughout his epic run Malcolm had been supported by club leader Michael Haigh and his deputy, Betty Dalby.
They accompanied him en route in a Ford Transit towing a caravan courtesy of sponsors Goodall Caravans.
Two other big sponsors were Frank Butterfield and Bob Howarth.
Malcolm had been moved by the then recent death of track athlete Lillian Board who lost her life to bowel cancer.
Lillian had been special to the country during the 1960s.
Having been billed as ‘the golden girl of British athletics’ she had won the silver medal in the 400 meters in the 1968 Mexican Olympics and two gold medals in the 1969 European Championships in Athens.
Just as Lillian had reached the peak of her career, she was diagnosed as having colorectal cancer. It was to claim her life on Boxing Day 1970 at the tragic young age of 22.
The athletic world was stunned by her death and an appeal went out in her name to raise funds for research into this terrible disease.
It was through this that Malcolm decided to give his support and began training in January 1972, running up to 80 miles per week in preparation for the big day.
He began the marathon in London on July 2, passing through St Albans and continuing North to the Midlands.
Malcolm says that after long days of exhausting legwork he was elated when he finally saw the faint outline of Emley Moor television mast on the skyline as he headed in the direction of Shepley.
What a coincidence, he recalled, that Slade were Number One in the charts that week with Take Me Back Home.
Malcolm completed the marathon when he arrived in Bradley on Sunday, July 9, having run more than 200 miles.
It was a memorable event that took place a long time ago yet, fortunately, tracking down Malcolm four decades later didn’t prove too difficult.
He is still connected to his local roots and also the world of sport and physical fitness through Malcolm Pickup Academy Squash and his job at the Galpharm Stadium where he is the health and safety officer.
Talking with an enthusiasm reminiscent of his younger days he reflected nostalgically, not only about the marathon but also about the days when Bradley Youth Club was filled with the laughter of young people and the community spirit people had in the 1970s.
He said it was that same community spirit that spurred him on through the lonely hours of his long distance marathon right down to the final sprint along the driveway at Bradley Youth Club – and that great welcome from those who awaited him.