David Bedford OBE

Greensnet Editor
Thu 02 Jan 2014, 06:00

As we advised earlier this week Hendon Football Club is delighted to learn that Director David Bedford has been bestowed with the OBE in Her Majesty The Queen's New Year Honours List.

Mr Bedford, who was celebrating his birthday when the announcement was made, was Britain's best long-distance runner in the early 1970s and held the world record for 10,000 metres. He later became the Director of the London Marathon, retiring from that role in the early 2010s. All in all, he has spent almost 50 years involved in athletics, as either a runner or an adminstrator.

His career as an athlete was relatively brief, from the age of to 14 to 24, but he revolutionised the way long-distance runners trained in Britain, running many miles each day. "It was a brief, but very exciting career," he said. "It could have been topped with a better day at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, when I finished sixth, but there is not point in dwelling on the negative, but to celebrate what I achieved."

But maybe Bedford's greatest achievement was the success of the London Marathon. He noted, "More than £50 million is raised by the athletes running in the London Marathon every year and in my time as Director of the London Marathon, more than £500 million has been raised by runners for various charities.

"Also the London Marathon is generally recognised as the best marathon in the world. I believe I have been truly blessed in my 20 years running and the subsequent years in administration."

Hendon FC has been in his blood for more than 50 years. He recalls walking to Claremont Road as a 10-year-old to watch the team returning from Wembley after winning the 1960 FA Amateur Cup.

And those two strands of his life remain strong. "Bob Parker has been my athletics coach since I was 14, and now I take him to watch Hendon," he explained. "There have been many Bob Parkers and they have all helped me in my career.

"In recent years I have been heavily involved with Hendon FC, trying to keep a great Club alive. It is a great joy of my life and one of things I enjoy about watch football at this level is that you can shout at a referee and not only will he hear what you say but also he will probably have a very good idea of who said it!

"Long may it continue."

(David Ballheimer)