By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year
July 23 - David Bedford has announced plans to step down as the race director of the London Marathon, having established it as the richest and most successful race in the world.
Bedford, the former world record holder for 10,000 metres, has told insidethegames that he hopes to hand over the reins following the 2013 race when he will have been involved with the race in an official capacity for 28 years and will be 63.
"By 2013 there will be a new race director if it all goes well," he told insidethegames.
"I don't want to work at the incredibly hard pace that I do now for the rest of my life so it seems sensible to plan your own demise."
Bedford's involvement with the London Marathon stretches back to the very first event in 1981 when he turned up on the morning of the race following a bet struck in his nightclub just a few hours before, being sick by the side of the road on Westminster Bridge.
Bedford has worked for the London Marathon since 1985, rising to the director’s role as the event has evolved.
His unparalleled knowledge of the sport and his ability to attract some of the greatest distance runners in history has made the event unarguably the finest marathon in the world.
Bedford has already begun searching for a replacement.
He hopes to have a deputy race director in place for next year's race on April 17 who he can groom to replace him.
"We want to identify a deputy race director and if everything goes well they will take over," Bedford told insidethegames.
"We have been inundated with applications - so someone obviously thinks it's a decent job to have.
"It will be all about circumstances and about what happens."
But before he can contemplate new challenges - he was this week linked with buying the Duke of Hamilton pub in Hampstead and saving it from being closed down at the hands of developers - Bedford faces potentially the most hectic period of his race organising career.
Besides the annual London Marathon he will also be closely involved in organising the Olympic and Paralympic marathons in 2012.
Even when he steps down after 2013, Bedford hopes to retain an interest in the London Marathon.
"If there continues to be a role for me I would like to remain involved," he said.
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April 2010: Alan Hubbard - Dave Bedford deserves a gong for the London Marathon