Let’s all agree: The London Marathon is the greatest and best organised mass participation event in the world, something of which Britain can be truly proud. Simply magnificent. I say this as an observer, not a participant, but the taking part bit was brought home to me last weekend when my daughter Clare ran it for the first time.

A 42-year-old mother of two, and quite fit as a former black belt in judo and now a coach, but never a runner, she got round in something under six hours and proclaimed afterwards, between gasps and grimaces that next to childbirth it was the most agonising yet uplifting experience of her life.

She kept going, tired and emotional in the nicest sense, cheered on by family and friends despite a badly strained back because, she said, you simply have to. She also says "Never again" but then most first-timers do. My guess is that she will be back next year.

She and her friend Gina, who ran with her, raised some £4,000 for Sense, the charity which supports deaf and blind adults and children - and personal thanks here to boxing promoter Frank Warren who generously donated ringside seats for all of his promotions this year for their pre-race auction. Also to boxers Amir Khan and James DeGale and those Tottenham and Chelsea players who signed gloves and shirts. Who says sport doesn’t have a heart?

Forgive those few lines of personal indulgence, but it gives me the opportunity to make a couple of points about the marathon. The first is that brilliantly as it is staged and managed by Dave Bedford and his team - and more of his part later - there is another aspect which is not quite as worthy of our applause. Magnificent is hardly the adjective to apply to the transportation arrangements for the thousands who lined the streets. Horrendous is more like it, with dangerously overcrowded tube platforms along the route, cancelled trains, surly and unhelpful station staff and the majority of escalators either not working  or closed – no doubt for ‘elf’n’ safety reasons. At one stage an anguished Aussie voice was heard to yell: "Bloody hell, and this is where they’re going to hold the Olympics!?"

Indeed it is, and that’s what concerns me. I have no doubt that Seb Coe and co will deliver a spectacular, memorable ,athlete-friendly dream Games, but getting to and from them  could be a nightmare. I am not alone in being far from convinced that Transport for London is as much on the ball as they would have us believe. Last Sunday provided worrying evidence of this. Presentation could be London’s glory; transportation its nemesis.

And so to "Bootsie" as he used to be known in his wilder days.

Around 35 years ago he was up there with George Best as one of sport's incorrigible hell-raisers. The hairy monster of athletics whose name was on everybody's lips, not least his own. Dave Bedford revelled in being the bearded braggart of sport, giving the V-sign to officialdom, filling the stadiums wherever he ran and dallying with the dolly birds. Bedford dismantled the world 10,000 metres record in 27min. 30.80sec.

He may have no Olympic medal to show for it but he was one of the finest distance runners Britain has ever produced, holding at one time or another every UK record from 2,000 to 10,000 metres, including the steeplechase. He also won a world cross-country title, running, as always, from the front.Those were the days when EPO was just a tinkle in a chemist's test-tube. To Bedford, the only performance-enhancing substances which mattered were Guinness and gumption. 

There has never been a bigger name in British athletics in terms of selling tickets. So it seems appropriate that, almost four decades later, Bedford, now 60, should still be in the business of pulling them in, and sports audiences don't come any bigger than that which annually lines the streets of London for what Bedford rightly considers is the greatest pro-am free show on earth.  He’s become the real Marathon Man, and as poacher-gamekeeper conversions go, his is definitely in the gold-medal class.

Bedford is not only the international race director but is also responsible for marketing and promoting the entire event. It is a remarkable transition for someone whose running battles with the blazers were legendary.  Respectability is the Bedford by-word these days. He's been beavering away on the marathon's behalf for the past dozen years and his selling of the marathon to punters, sponsors and television has helped make it the greatest one- day fundraising event in the UK.

He has always said apart from having sex for the first time, running the marathon will be the most exciting thing people do in their entire lives. After a lifetime in sport, old Bootsie is still clearly in love with it. "Sure there are loads of wankers, but there's an awful lot of nice people too," he says. "As long as you know the difference, you can make it work."

The way Bedford managed to get every international elite competitor to the starting line this year amid the volcanic ash crisis was a masterpiece of planning and organisation.

So here is my question: Why has he never received a gong? Many lesser (but less rebellious) athletes have been honoured, but not Bedford.  I hope that whoever is Sports Minister by this time next week will push his case, and also consider why the likes of him, the Youth Charter leader Geoff Thompson and Tessa Sanderson, (to whom we send best wishes on her marriage to British judo chief Densign White this weekend) are consistently snubbed by those who select candidates for sport’s quangos.

It is time some of our more street-wise personalities were brought into play in the administration of British sport: and as we have seen for the past 12 years, they don’t come any wiser than Dave Bedford in the streets if London.

Alan Hubbard is an award-winning sports columnist for The Independent on Sunday, and a former sports editor of The Observer. He has covered a total of 16 Summer and Winter Olympics.