Tom Bedford Runs 2:24:10 and Makes the World a Better place, by Larry Eder


30553.jpg Tom Bedford, Dublin Marathon, October 2009. The man celebrating is Tom Bedford. Tom had just won THE BET, where he promised to run a marathon under two hours, twenty five minutes, in a period of three years, and the wagers were 10,000 pounds to his favorite charity.

Like all great endeavors, Tom had his challenges. However, Tom, possessed of some running talent, and a young man who knows when to work hard and when to have some fun, got at it. Perhaps the memory of his late friend, Mike Long, was the impetus.

This past October, Tom Bedford ran 2:24:10, to win THE BET, and raised over $20,000 US for the Entoto Foundation. Entoto, founded by the late Mike Long, the elite race coordinator for the old Elite Racing events, loved Ethiopia and the youngsters he met there. Entoto provides needed medical care for kids who can not afford to get it. It does good things for good people and it is supported by good people. I am making a donation. I challenge our readers to give up one beer, or a six pack, a week for four weeks and send the money to Entoto. You will have done a good thing, and perhaps even loose some weight ( I lost ten pounds doing it! Now, for the other ninety!).

Below is the blog Tom does, and his piece on marathon day! Tom Bedford is a good man, and our friend, Mike Long, I believe, is looking down on Tom with a huge grin and a nice pint!


Tom Bedford, on his way to reaching his goal....

Tom's blog:

Race morning


Baked beans, sausages and bacon 2 ½ hours before a race is bad!
Improvising rubbing your private area so you can borrow a Kenyan’s Vaseline in the toilet queue is not ideal 10 mins before a race but very amusing!


Great nights sleep.
Relaxed and ready to go!

5m 35s a mile was what I was looking for the 1st mile – My ugly makeshift watch gave me 4m 45s. It must be broke as well as being ugly because I felt comfortable. I decided to ask the two guys around what time they were hoping for. The first said sub 2.20 and the second said 2.22, the ugly watch must have been correct! They then asked me and I replied that I think I am in the wrong group and eased off the gas (I had no idea i would be seeing them later!).

Running 5.30’s felt good but i was cautious as I had been informed Dublin marathon is undulating for the 1st 8 miles. I took this onboard and tried to relax as much as possible and use Ryan Hall’s advice from my last attempt and just try and fall asleep for the first half.

At 10 mile things started to take shape. I felt good and the group that had passed me two miles before were coming back to me. The ugly watch I had bought had no lap times that actually helped me break down the race into 2mile targets of 11mins dead. Not even I could screw that maths up!

I went through halfway in 72.04 and felt great. I was worried this pace would catch up on me later down the road but the wall never came. In my last attempt i started to feel bad at 16 miles but I felt very good and continued to gradually work my way past people. Infact at mile 13 I met a Welshman and asked him what his target was. He said he was also going for sub 2.25 so I shook his hand and said let’s do it. After half a mile I started to move away from him and really started to focus on 11mins/ 2 mile splits!

I continued to pass people upto mile 19 and then it was me and the clock. 11mins for two miles were comfortable and my aim was to get to 22 before getting excited. At mile 24 I was able to start looking at the finish and calculating backwards. I needed just 6min miles to complete the challenge. The only thing that was going through my head was £10,000 and much about the same for chairty for two 6min miles!

1mile to go- My legs were starting to hurt but I gave myself one aim – keep the stride length long!

½ a mile and I knew it was there without any problem. All I had to concentrate on was the celebration.



For a giggle look at some more photo's here



The relief was immense and I was in shock I had completed it in Dublin but, felt it was a just reward for the last month of illness and negative thoughts!

On reflection I was glad I surprised myself because I had been my own worse critic in training. I had convinced myself I was not fit enough and looked at what I had missed in training rather than how much i had done. Normally my pints are always half full rather than half empty!

So what now.....

Three years ago i got myself in decent shape for a bet and then walked away once I completed the task. I am feeling a little bit different after this attempt. I really enjoyed teaching myself a new event and now that I have completed it i am thankful for my shocking experience in San Diego 5 months previous. I feel as though I really changed my attitude and learnt respect for the marathon.

A famous quote comes to mind as i am writing this from a running legend and four time Olympic Gold medallist Emil Zatopek.

"We are different, in essence, from other men. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon." Emil Zatopek

I certainly feel I experienced something from this bet and even thought of my own quote to describe the marathon.

“A marathon is a lady. Respect her and you shall get your rewards!” Tom Bedford

So answer the question Tom.... What now? Well I have enjoyed getting myself fit and proving that I was not just all talk and backed up my pub-lic statement! I think I can easily run sub 2.20 without much more dedication than this attempt. So for now let’s go for that...... The sad state of British marathon running means that I am 17th in this year’s ranking of which I achieved off almost 1.5 years of training. I mean no disrespect to current marathon runners but the facts state this. I obviously have the talent and the ability to hurt myself in training, with the right dedication who knows what I could produce. I will certainly give it a good go for the next year and see what happens. Running ruins your social life which is something I enjoy a lot but, I guess I can postpone it for a little bit longer, right?

Thanks a lot for everyone comments and support over the last 1.5 years. Despite this originally being a simple pub bet it has given me the opportunity to help a great charity close to my heart (entoto foundation).I hope you have enjoyed this blog and maybe you would buy me a celebratory beer if we met in a pub (or not!)? Well the pub is on hold for a while so why not give your £4.00 to an ethiopian girl for a life saving operation? Makes sense to me and will take just 1 minute!

Bye......... for now!

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