David Bedford awarded OBE, former race director Virgin London Marathon, former WR holder 10,000m, release, note by Larry Eder

David Bedford one of the true characters of British Athletics, will be awarded the Order of the British Empire on New Years Day, it was announced by the Virgin London Marathon this evening. 

David Bedford is one of most iconic figures of his athletics generation. A man who knows the sport inside and out, Bedford has used his talents to help make the London marathon into, as he was proud of saying, "the greatest marathon in the world". 

Eminently quotable, David Bedford has spent much of his adult life encouraging others to see the excitement in the sport he loves and to run, jump and throw. 

Bedford captured a generation of athletics fans with his brazen front running, accepting no limitations but that his body would sometimes revolt. But, with his tremendous training, and gutty racing, came British Records from 2,000m to 10,000m, plus a World Record at 10,000 meters. Beneath his quotable comments, lies a man who loves his sport and sees a bright future for global running. 

RunBlogRun congratulates Mr. Bedford on his well deserved award, and hopes to share a beverage of an adult nature with him in the near future in celebration of his OBE. 

David Bedford and his mustache, 
photo from Virgin London Marathon 



David Bedford, Virgin London 2008, photo by PhotoRun.net 

Dave Bedford awarded OBE

Press release - Embargoed until 22.00 Monday 30th December 2013

Dave Bedford, one of the most recognisable characters in the history of British Athletics, has been awarded the OBE in the 2014 New Years Honours List.

Dave, a former world record holder himself, has been instrumental in gathering the world's best athletes on the streets of London for the London Marathon as Race Director of the event from 2002 to 2012.

"I had an exciting and eventful athletics career but I'm more proud to be part of an incredible event whose fundraising has totalled over half a billion pounds for charitable causes since its inception, and attracts the world's best distance runners to London each year. London is viewed by most people as the best Marathon in the World" 

Dave stepped down as Race Director of the Virgin London Marathon in 2012, to oversee the Event's International Relations and continues to be its Elite Athlete Co-ordinator. 

Often described as a colourful character on and off the track, Bedford has held many positions within the governing body of the sport and regional associations of athletics throughout the UK.  He first joined the London Marathon in 1986 as Head of Marketing, and in his capacity as Race Director from 2002 to 2012, created an event which has seen many World Records. Paula Radcliffe holds both of the IAAF World Records with the Women's "Mixed" record set in London 2003; 2:15:25 and the "Women Only" record set in London 2005: 2:17:42.  Ultimately, his ability to attract some of the greatest distance runners in history, the world's best wheelchair racers, the interaction and development with the mass field of runners, charities, sponsors and television has made the London Marathon arguably the finest marathon in the World.

Sir John Spurling, KCVO, OBE, Chairman of The London Marathon Ltd said; 'Dave's tireless efforts to bring to London the world's best elite runners and wheelchair racers, ultimately showcasing London around the globe, and indeed his continued development of the London Marathon for all its participants, has resulted in millions of pounds being raised for many different charitable causes, by runners having taken part in the London Marathon, which now annually raises over £50 million a year'. (see note 1)

It is the seventh consecutive year from 2007, that London Marathon entrants have broken the Guinness World Record for charity fund raising at a single annual event worldwide, and brings the total raised for hundreds of charitable causes since the race began in 1981 to more than £663 million.

David is also one of the key founders of World Marathon Majors, a group of the World's leading marathon organisations, set up in 2006 including Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, New York and the recently added Tokyo Marathon. In creating World Marathon Majors the organisers of these six races recognised an opportunity to advance the sport and raise awareness of its athletes. The WMM series offers a $1 million prize purse to be split equally between the top male and female marathoners in the world.  

With his vast experience and knowledge of World Championship Marathon races, Bedford was also instrumental in the architecture and groundwork of the memorable London 2012 Olympic Marathon course.

His continued work from the grass roots level of the sport, to the top elites, whether through his own athletics club Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers, many years of liaison  with London Marathon and UK Athletics on the development and support of the British endurance squad, all display his continued enthusiasm for the expansion and promotion of the sport in this country, across all age groups and abilities, to ultimately showcase British Athletics at major championships all around the world.

His work has extended to the world governing body the sport, The International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF), as an elected and respected member on the IAAF Cross Country Committee and Chairman of the IAAF Road Running Commission.


In a pose of quiet contemplation: 

Tom Bedford, David Bedford, Brendan Reilly, WC 2009, 

photo by PhotoRun.net

Born in Hampstead, North London in December 1949, his running career spanned ten years (1964-1974), during which time he raised the profile of British athletics, popularising the sport both nationally and internationally. As one of the greatest British distance runners of all time, he is a former World Record holder at 10,000m, (still the only Briton ever to hold this record), European Record holder at 5,000m and a former World Cross Country Champion.  During 1971 he held every British record from 2,000m to 10,000m including the steeplechase (seven records in total).  He famously won the Southern Athletics Cross Country Junior Championship six mile race and then within the hour took the Senior men's nine mile Championships title at Parliament Hill.

Injuries brought his running career to a premature end in 1974, but he has remained actively involved with his own running club, Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers.  

Dave was also Chairman and Secretary of the International Athletes Club and promoter of the memorable sell-out IAC Grand Prix track and field events, held at Crystal Palace in the 1980's.

In May 2004, Dave became an active Director of Hendon Football Club Supporters Trust.

Dave holds Honorary Doctorates from the University of Brighton and Middlesex University. He is also an Honorary Fellow of St. Mary's University College.


1. Seven record years of charity fundraising from the London Marathon: 2007 £46.5 million; 2008 £46.7 million; 2009 £47.2 million; 2010 £50.6 million; 2011£51.8 million; 2012   £52.8 million; 2013 £53.0 million).

The 2014 Virgin Money London Marathon is on Sunday 13 April 2014, and the official charity will be Anthony Nolan: www.milebymile.org

For more information please contact the Virgin Money London Marathon press office:

Nicola OkeyTel; 07799 661345

Email: [email protected]

Online: www.virginmoneylondonmarathon.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/virginlondonmarathon

Twitter:  twitter.com/londonmarathon

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