Steve Smythe chronicles the top results from the iconic former world 10,000m record-holder
This article lists a century’s worth of Dave Bedford’s greatest races in chronological order. For a more detailed look at his best 20 competitions, please click here.
If you’d like the complete race history of this legendary British distance runner, go to our member-only Clubhouse section by clicking here.
English Schools Intermediate Cross-Country Championships, Colchester, March 20
The young Bedford finished a minute down on the winner David Buckley, who had won the junior race the year before. Future rival John Bednarski was 14th.
Back then the races were maybe not taken as seriously as now even though with the absence of major boys races, there was little else for boys of this age to target on country or track.
It’s notable that for this race that there was no AW report and the results did not even have initials on them. However, it was better than the 1964 coverage in the initial issue which mentioned the event on the cover and had a page number pointing you toward it but there was nothing until just the senior results the following week. Bedford finished 72nd that year.
English Schools Intermediate Cross-Country Championships, Derby, March 19
Bedford gained almost a minute on Buckley (20:41) but both were beaten by the younger 1965 junior winner Paul Marwood (20:40). Bedford did beat future rival John King to third but by how much is not known as only the three were timed as an English Schools spokesman said as the times were not material in team championships they were probably destroyed! Bedford did pick up a team silver for Middlesex.
Shaftesbury Harriers Club 3 miles, Copthall, July 17
This proved a highly promising three miles debut as it ranked him second in the 1966 end of season youths rankings to Ian Stewart’s British record 13:59.6.
Southern Youths Cross-Country Championships, Parliament Hill, February 11
In his first year in the age group, he showed his astonishing talent in that only future International junior winner Bednarski (17:00) could finish within a minute of him on a 5km course. Future top coach Mick Woods was 10th and a future senior champion, who features in many of his latter races, Pete Standing, was 12th.
English National Youths Cross-Country Championships, Norwich, March 4
He was not helped by a slow start but he moved through well as Tony Simmons (14:28) headed Ian Stewart (14:33). There cannot be too many National youths races over the years where the top three have all gone to finish in the top six in the Olympics!
Commonwealth marathon medallist Don Faircloth was sixth and future steeplechase rival Andy Holden 19th.
Inter Counties Youths Cross-Country Championships, Derby, March 11
With Simmons (preparing to finish eighth in the International Junior race) and Stewart not competing and less runners to get through after a slow start, Bedford won comfortably from Bednarski (16:37) and Holden (16:42).
English Schools Cross Country Championships, Sheffield, March 18
His best ever schools race but three big championships in three weeks may have been too much as Holden, who’d he had beaten the previous two weeks, was getting better race by race and won with plenty in hand (26:06). King was sixth and future top middle-distance coach Norman Poole was seventh, future rival Malcolm Thomas 21st and Eastern champion Thompson 23rd.
Shaftesbury Harriers 3 Miles Championships, Copthall, June 14
2nd 14:13.6 (PB)
This ranked him eighth in the UK junior rankings. Stewart was top with 13:39.8 though the low key nature of the race meant it never appeared in AW and had no date by it in the end of season rankings in AW.
AAA Junior 2M Championships, White City, July 15
7th 9:14.4 (PB)
Held within the main senior championships (there were world-class wins for Ron Clarke in the three miles and Jurgen Haase in the six miles) he ran well but was 100 metres down in a race won by Simmons (8:50.4) with Stewart only fourth after a heavy fall (8:59.4).
Alperton 2M, July 19
2nd 9:12.2 (PB)
Made a small improvement on his previous best in finishing second to senior S Buchanaen (9:08.2). This ranked him 11th in the end of season UK junior rankings with only one younger athlete (Boggis) just ahead of him.
Southern Inter County Junior 2 miles, Withdean, July 29
1st 9:13.8 (PB)
It now seems incredible that at this time the English Schools Championships had no events longer than the mile other than the 2000m steeplechase in their championships and Bedford, not sharp enough to contest the mile, won from Faircloth (9:16.2) and Standing (9:29.2).
Tooting 10,000m, October 22
1st 29:49.8 (UK age 17 record)
Junior rival Boggis led through one mile in 4:49.6 and two miles in 9:48.8 before struggling with the humidity and Bedford was ahead at halfway in 14:46.2. Out on his own he slowed on the second half with miles of 5:01.2, 5:06.6 and 4:55.8 but that faster last mile enabled him to take 5.6 seconds off Faircloth’s previous best UK mark.
Harrow 6M track race, November 19
1st 29:15.8 (PB/world age 17 record)
Running fairly evenly (halves of 14:38.8 and 14:37.0) with miles between 4:46.0 and 4:56.6 he took 23.8 seconds off Canadian Ron Stjern’s previous world age best.
Southern Youths Cross-Country Championships, Parliament Hill, February 10
He won by a staggering 40 seconds over a three mile course from Chris Reed (17:19) and future champion Jack Lane (17:19).
English Youths Cross-Country Championships, Sutton Coldfield, March 2
Inter-Counties Youth Cross-Country Championships, Leicester, March 9
The younger Inter-Counties races were held back then separately from the senior race and after the National and Bedford continued his dominance winning from John Harrison (15:03) and John King (15:04)
Herne Hill Floodlit meet 2M, Tooting, March 13
2nd 9:04.6 (PB)
Started with a 63 second opening lap and led until the last 200m when he was out-kicked by senior Geoff Biscoe (9:02.6) but did set a seven second PB.
English Schools Senior Boys Cross-Country Championships, Stoke, March 23
Up against some older athletes had a rare off-day but had previously beaten most of those ahead. King (25:51), who was only eighth in the National, won from Dick Hollings (26:00) and Lane (26:07). Fourth was a certain Ian Thompson (26:29) who in Bedford’s last international track season won both the Commonwealth and European marathons.
SCAAA U21 v Middlesex U21 v BRC 2M, Isleworth, May 27
1st 8:50.00 (PB)
Running on the pear-shaped Borough Road College track, Bedford ran a faster pace than any of his previous track races with 4:23.2 at the mile and though he lost the lead and drooped back when Jim Mouat surged on the penultimate lap, he kicked well on the last lap and beat Mouat (8:56.6) comfortably and was just four seconds off of Ian Stewart’s British age best and eight off Bruce Kidd’s world age best.
At the time Bedford was suffering from a hairline fracture of his right shinbone and only training on grass and also getting overheated feet and therefore had cut ovals on his racing shoes.
AAA Junior 2M, White City, July 13
Crystal Palace 5000m, August 6
6th 14:24.0 (13:54.6 at 3 miles)
This was his fastest 5000m as a junior and it ranked him third in the UK behind Stewart and Bednarski and his three mile time produced the same ranking.
Junior Inter-Counties Match, Thurrock 2M & 2000 steeplechase, August 24
1st 9:09.0 & 1st 6:06.6 (PB)
Just did enough to win the two miles from Chris Reed (9:15.0) but it was much closer in the steeplechase as he edged J Peel (6:06.8) with sub-6 chaser Tony Pretty third (6:14.6). His time of 6:04.0 in his book would have ranked him just inside the UK top 20 juniors for 1968 but it was printed as 6:06.6 in AW.
Crystal Palace 10,000m, August 29
In windy conditions, world record-holder Ron Clarke produced what at the time many thought was the greatest 10,000m run in history as he passed halfway in 13:50.6 and his 27:49.4 was the second best time in history. The 18-year-old Bedford tried to help as when he was lapped he ran 68-second laps to help pace the Australian and then run a few laps to recover at 90 seconds before going fast again.
Clarke easily lapped the entire field winning by 90 seconds. Faircloth ran a European junior record 29:38.0 in fifth though as aged 20 later in the year it was not eligible as a British mark.
English National Junior Cross-Country, Parliament Hill, March 1
Was closing fast on the older Holden (33:08) on the last lap but beat the rest of a quality field headed by Simmons (33:28), Bednarski (33:43) and Thomas (34:01).
International Junior Cross-Country Race, Clydebank, March 22
Southern Championships 10,000m, Crystal Palace, April 19
1st 28:24.4 (UK record)
Lodz 5000m, Poland, May 15
4th 13:58.2 (PB)
The race was won by 1964 Olympian and 1966 European fourth-placer Derek Graham (13:52.8) but Bedford acquitted himself well in his biggest international track race to date, with his first sub-14 run and again bettering Bednarski (14:00.2).
Inter-Counties 5000m Championships, White City, May 26
5th 13:54.6 (PB)
Led most of the race and contributed to a number of European qualifying times but had no answer to the fast last 600m of Ian Stewart (13:42.8).
Reading Gala Night of Sport 3000m, June 11
5th 8:05.4 (PB)
Was in the thick of a battle but lost out on the last lap in a race won by Chris Stewart (8:03.0).
Southern Championships 5000m, Crystal Palace, July 12
1st 13:42.8 (PB)
Gained the European qualifier himself with a big PB with a 2:38.6 last kilometre just about holding off Geoff North (13:44.4).
Chubb Mile, Motspur Park, July 23
8th 4:02.9 (PB)
Running on the famous world record cinder track he had a huge breakthrough in his speed. The race was won by future Olympian John Kirkbride (3:58.0) but Bedford finished between 3:57 miler Andy Green (4:02.8) and future UK indoor 1500m record-holder Phil Banning and ahead of 1964 Olympian Bill McKim (4:03.6) who would make the AAA 1500m final the following week.
AAA Championships 10,000m, White City, August 1
Was unable to use his new found track speed or replicate his April form which would have seen him make the European team and ran a passive race finishing a minute down on Taylor (28:27.6) with Mike Tagg (28:36.4) and Ron Hill (28:39.2) completing the top three. Tagg would go to win European silver and Hill marathon gold though a badly dehydrated Taylor would finish almost last in his 10,000m.
GB v France 5000m, White City, September 1
In his senior international track debut he produced a better run but lost out on a final chance of making the Athens team as that went to winner Mike Baxter (13:50.4) but he did beat Commonwealth bronze medallist Allan Rushmer (14:00.2). Curiously day one of the international was at Crystal Palace and day two at the White City.
Pontivy Cross-Country, France, November 23
Having run within himself all winter, he opened out here to easily beat European 10,000m silver medallist and International Cross-Country winner Mike Tagg (23:38).
Jean Bouin 5.5km, Barcelona, December 7
In front of 100,000 spectators, Britons filled the first three places with Bob Holt (15:50.0) following Bedford home.
Nos Galan 4M, Mountain Ash, December 31
Gained a clear win over his National conqueror Andy Holden (18:17.1), but just missed Holden’s record not helped by a television camera car getting in his way over the final bridge.
Inter-Counties Cross-Country Championships, Derby, January 17
Taylor (36:45) won easily from Trevor Wright (36:59) and Ricky Wilde (37:10) with Bedford, who had led much of the race, just ahead of Tagg (37:23) and Baxter (37:25) who had got the better of him on the track the previous summer.
Southern Senior and Junior Cross-Country Championships, Parliament Hill, February 7
Senior 9M: 1st 45:50, Junior 6M: 1st 32:12
English National Cross-Country Championships, Blackpool, February 28
He could have run in the junior race but wanted to make the international team where he would be too old for the under-20 race and he qualified easily but could not quite match Wright (42:48) who run down early leader Taylor (43:06) in the seventh mile. Bedford was not helped by a poor start which meant he was never in contention with the top two.
Junior Inter-Counties Cross-Country Championships, Leicester, March 7
Running to help his county Middlesex (who won the team race) he won easily from team-mate Lane (28:30).
International Cross-Country Championships, Vichy, France, March 22
Britons dominated with Tagg (20th in the National with a heavy cold) winning surprisingly from Roelants in 36:39.8 with Wright third (36:44.6) and England had five of the first seven and won at a canter. Despite suffering from a back injury from lifting weights, Bedford was unable to contribute and finished nearly four minutes back amongst the last 10 finishers.
Hampstead 10, May 16
He won easily from 1968 Olympic marathoner Tim Johnston (49:08).
Bracknell 5, August 1
On an undulating course in very hot conditions, he won by 27 seconds from Johnston (23:48).
AAA 10,000m, White City, August 7
Shaftesbury 10, Hendon, August 9
1st 47:55 (course record)
Back in action quickly after his 10,000m, he pulled away up a long hill at 4 miles and through halfway in 23:55, he held that pace well to the end to win by a minute from future Olympic marathoner Barry Watson (49:08). He won a trophy for first under-21 runner but asked that to be passed on to the next in that category.
London Fire Brigade 3000m, White City, August 29
1st 7:58.2 (PB)
In one of the last ever meetings at the famous track, he front ran to an easy win over Dick Newble (8:03.8) which moved him to joint eighth all-time in the UK.
UK v Poland 10,000m, Warsaw, September 12
1st 28:06.2 (UK record)
Nos Galan 4, Mountain Ash, December 31
Because of the leg injury, for much of the autumn he had to jog a few miles a day instead of his usual 200 miles a week and this performance came from just two weeks of good training. He broke Holden’s course record by 16 seconds as he beat Holden by 45 seconds (18:30).
Interestingly in the end of year 10,00m merit rankings, the British rankings put Lachie Stewart top and Bedford second but the world rankings compiled by Track and Field News put Bedford top and Stewart (who had a poor run in the European Cup) third.
Hillingdon 5, February 20
Had another brilliant road run as he smashed the course record and again beat Simmons (23:40), his past junior conqueror. GB Olympic 1500m representative Maurice Benn was third in 24:04.
National Cross-Country Championships, Norwich, March 6
International Cross-Country Championships, San Sebastian, Spain, March 20
Southern 12-Stage Road Relay 5M, Wimbledon, March 27 1971
Motspur Park 3000m, May 12
1st 7:51.6 (PB)
Running solo in strong winds on Motspur Park’s cinders he just missed the British record as he won by 150 metres from Roger Clark (8:19.4).
Rome 5000m, May 20
1st 13:28.0 (PB)
Seven seconds up on Ian Stewart’s European record time at his 4000m split, the lack of opposition cost him and he had to settle for becoming the eighth fastest runner ever. Dane Korica was second in a Yugoslavian record sharing the same time as Lasse Viren, who set a Finnish record 13:35.2. Among many national records future European 1500m champion Francesco Arese set an Italian mark (13:40.0) whereas Olympic 10,000m champion Naftali Temu was 15th around a lap behind.
British International Games 5000m, Edinburgh, June 12
13:22.2 (European record)
Stockholm 5000m, Sweden, June 15
1st 13:24.6 (12:58.2 – European record)
Just three days after his record, he ran a similar time but this time picked up the European three mile record as that time was not taken in Edinburgh. It was a glorious solo run as no one else broke 14 minutes and he passed 1000m in 2:38.1 and 2000m in 5:18.0 but was not able to maintain the world record 13:15 pace past halfway on his own.
GB v France (inc AAA Championships) 10,000m, Portsmouth, July 10
27:47.0 (European record) (6M, 26:51.6 – European record)
AAA 5000m, Crystal Palace, July 24
Because of his stated intention to break the world record a capacity crowd of 14,000 was in attendance. He set off staggeringly fast (2:35.0 at 1000m and 5:15.2 at 2000m) and was ahead of schedule but began to get a leg pain and was slightly down at 3000m (7:58.8) but he dropped out around 200 metres later with a hamstring cramp.
Baxter won the race in a championships record 13:39.6 to gain Helsinki selection with Bedford asking not be selected for the shorter event in fairness to those actually finishing.
European Championships 10,000m Helsinki, Finland, August 10
GB v West Germany 5000m, Crystal Palace, August 30
In front of a record bank holiday crowd, Bedford won easily from team-mate Baxter (13:55.4).
Coca-Cola Invitation Meeting 3000m steeplechase, Crystal Palace, September 10
1st 8:28.6 (UK record)
See top 20 list. At the end of the season, Bedford won the AW British Athlete of the Year with 370 votes to European 400m champion David Jenkins’ 291 while he was second in the world male with 90 votes to Vaatainen’s 262.
Southern League 5000m and 3000m steeplechase, Erith, September 11
DQ 14:17.2 and 1st 9:19.6
This dominated the AW letter pages as Bedford started the 5000m with a plain white vest and only changed into his Shaftesbury vest mid-race and was disqualified for not wearing it throughout though apparently also broke the rules running for 20 metres without any vest or number as he changed!
Rennes 8km, October 24
He won this race watched by a 30,000 crowd by just a second from Gaston Roelants (21:55) who would go on to win the 1972 International cross-country title won by Bedford in 1971.
IAC 8km Cross-Country Race, Parliament Hill, November 27
A mostly domestic field lined up for this unusually televised event and suffering from gastric flu, he had to work hard to beat European 10,000m team-mate Jack Lane (22:14), Holden (22:15) and Commonwealth 10,000m winner Lachie Stewart (22:22).
Braaschaat Cross-Country, Belgium, January 9
He survived missing an allowed ‘false start’ which saw 150 runners get in front of him and then fighting off the challenge of Grenville Tuck (23:06), who went to win the Inter Counties race a week later against Wright and Holden. Roelants was third in 23:17.
Five Windmills Cross-Country, Milan, January 23
Carried on his good form, winning easily from future Olympic steeplechase medallist and multi Commonwealth champion Ben Jipcho (31:18.2) and Korica (31:20) who had beaten him in Helsinki.
National Indoor 3000m Championships, Cosford, January 29
In the middle of a 200-mile training week, he made a late decision to run and was allowed a late entry, as was winner Ian Stewart. Making his indoor debut, he led mid race at a fast pace (5:14.6 at 2000) and set an outright PB though Stewart (7:50.0) took a few seconds out of him in the final kilometre.
Leuven 3000m, June 21
2nd 7:46.4 (UK record)
Made a great return to form to set a British record after losing out on the last lap to future world record-holder Emil Puttemans (7:44.2) and his time bettered Taylor’s 7:47.6 mark and also beat Wilde’s indoor record (7:47.0).
WAAA Championships Invitation 2000m, Crystal Palace, July 8
1st 5:03.2 (UK and Commonwealth record)
He showed his speed was continuing to progress as he kept inside his 1500m/Mile PB pace for five laps and took five seconds off Colin Robinson’s soft UK record. World Junior 5000m record-holder Dave Black was second in 5:05.2. Bedford’s 200m splits were 29.5, 29.7, 30.6, 30.8, 30.4, 30.6, 30.4, 31.0, 29.8 and 30.4.
AAA Championships 5000m & 10,000m (inc Olympic Trials), Crystal Palace, July 14/15
1st 13:17.2 (European & UK record & UK all -omers’ record) & 1st 27:52.4
Stockholm 2M, August 4
6th 8:28.2 (7:52.2 at 3000m)
Lasse Viren shocked with a world record (8:14.0) with Ian Stewart setting a British record in fourth (8:22.0). A dejected Bedford who had led much of the race faded badly. He had picked up a stomach bug while training in St Moritz which kept him out of some races but thought he had recovered.
Olympic 10,000m & 5000m, Munich, August 31
6th 28:05.4 (2nd 27:53.6 ht) & 12th 13:43.2 (2nd 13:49.8 ht)
Of his preparation for Munich he said: “There are a lot of people who would knock the way I have trained. There were only five people at Munich who trained better than me probably and even that is questionable. On a bad day I was sixth at the Olympics. Even in my own way, which may appear slap-happy but is not, I have achieved a lot and with a bit of luck, could have achieved a lot more but I don’t think I could achieve it any other way.”
Of the Munich race, he added: “The thing is I ran too slow. When I went through 5000m 15 seconds slower than I wanted it (13:30), it knocked my confidence. Had I gone through in the time I wanted I would still have expected someone to be there with four laps to go but I would have had more chance.”
Of his finishing speed, he said: “I have won club races with 54 or 55 last laps so I have the speed but not produced it when it matters. I have got some basic speed there and I think I can use it. Some of the training sessions I did in the summer were superb. I ran 13:17 for 5000m and 5:03 for 2000m and I can honestly break four minutes for the mile. If that is not speed, what is? I am a long distance runner so that is why I don’t do the bloody 100 yards. If I had speed I would be doing 100 and 200m races so as I have not got that speed, I do the longer ones.”
Helsinki 5000m, September 14
In front of a 40,000 crowd to cheer on Viren, he set off at world record pace and was through 1000m in 2:36.6, three seconds up on the Finn and it was down to two seconds at 2000m (5:18.6). Bedford surged through halfway in 6:38.6 three seconds clear but Viren was only a second back at 3000m (8:00.4).
Holding even pace until a driving final kilometre of 2:33.8, Viren won by 80 metres in a world record 13:16.4 to take a fifth of a second off Clarke’s mark. Bedford did at least beat his Helsinki 1971 conqueror and fellow Olympic finalist Vaatainen (13:35.4) into third though lost his European record to Viren.
Brussels 5000m, September 20
Again was in a world record race (Puttemans won in 13:13.0) but this time was never remotely involved which is not surprising as the pacemaker Michel Bernard ran a imbecilic 56.0 first lap. Puttemans was alone at 3000m (7:53.2) and apart from the 5000m, record he also took Clarke’s world three-mile mark by over two seconds (12:47.8)
Southern Cross-Country Championships, Parliament Hill, February 10
Now feeling fully fit, he ran probably the fastest anyone has ever run for nine miles around this famous course winning by 98 seconds from Les Presland (45:35) who surprisingly took second ahead of some better known names.
English National Cross-Country Championships, Parliament Hill, March 3
1st 43:55 (guest Rod Dixon 43:42)
Controversially a team of New Zealanders were allowed to run as guests and Olympic 1500m bronze medallist Rod Dixon shocked to comfortably run away from Bedford on the second of three laps. They were not included in the results and Bedford won the title from an inspired Roger Clark (44:07) and Tony Simmons (44:26). Bedford, who had had an infected abscess which had kept him out of a big indoor race the previous week, gave his winner’s medal to Dixon.
AAA Championships 10,000m, Crystal Palace, July 13
1st 27:30.8 (world record)
GB v Greece and Belgium 5000m, Athens, July 19
He had specifically asked to be selected to get some warm weather running in and take on Puttemans, who sadly chose to just run the 1500m and he eased around with Dave Black (who also ran 13:44.0) ahead of European Indoor 3000m silver medallist Willie Polleunis and future world cross-country champion Leon Schots.
London Cross-Country Championships, Parliament Hill. November 24
Making a return to competition and in need of a race prior to the Commonwealths, he won easily from team-mate Julian Goater (28:44) who had run a 13:38.8 5000m during the summer.
Auckland 5000m, New Zealand, December 19
In his fastest 5000m of the year, he more than confirmed his fitness but was unable to cope with Quax’s fast finish (13:24.0) though a recurrence of his tight hamstring did mean he had to miss his next planned race. Interestingly in the AW readers’ poll, Bedford finished second in the world male category to Jipcho but also second to Foster in the UK male award.
Wellington 5000m, New Zealand, January 3
Just as he ended 1973, there was an almost identical result in the first of 1974 with Quax again proving too fast for him (13:24.4).
Commonwealth Games 10,000m & 5000, Christchurch, January 25
4th 28:14.8 and 11th 14:18.8 (13:59.2 heat)
AAA Championships 10,000, Crystal Palace, July 12
English National Cross-Country Championships, Parliament Hill, March 5
It did not help being left behind at the beginning due to a mass false start but after just nine weeks of solid training he worked his way through the field to qualify for the International team in certainly one of the greatest ever line-ups.
The first three had finished third, fourth and eighth in the Olympics as Foster (43:49) won from Ford (43:50) and Simmons (43:53). Commonwealth runner-up Black (44:31) was fourth and Bedford just lost out to future Olympic runner-up Mike McLeod and Golden 5000 winner Barry Smith (both 44:37) but he beat top athletes like Steve Kenyon, Julian Goater, Steve Ovett, Geoff Smith, Steve Jones, Grenville Tuck and Tagg.
World Cross-Country Championships, Dusseldorf, March 20
Again unable to run to his potential as he suffered leg cramps and took off his shoes and down in 120th at one point, he worked his way all the way up to 45th and just miss out on the scoring six as England just lost to Belgium by three points.
Leon Schots (37:43) won from Carlos Lopes (37:48) with Ford the leading Briton in fifth (37:54).
If times are correct this was easily the most congested finish in international cross-country history as the 50 spots from 26th to 75th occupied all of seven seconds!
Southern 5000m Championships, West London Stadium, April 27
Oxford University Track Opening 3000m, May 4
Tried repeating his sitting-in tactics again and followed Southern cross-country champion Neil Coupland but the Southampton athlete who ran 13:31.13/28:16.73 in the summer kicked in a 89.4 last 600m but Bedford managed a highly encouraging 2:33 final kilometre – probably one of his fastest ever but Coupland won by a few metres in 7:57.0. Despite this hugely promising result that was effectively the end of his fast running in the summer and the last at around international level.
London Cross-Country Championships, Parliament Hill, November 26
He won a good battle with future Southern Champion Bob Treadwell (29:38), Guy McCallum (29:43) and leading junior Dave Beaver (30:00).
Southern Cross-Country Championships, Parliament Hill, February 11 1978
Neil Coupland (44:47) won his third title in a row from Standing (45;19) with Bedford winning a medal just ahead of Andy Catton, who is still running well in the veteran ranks. Future London Marathon winners Hugh Jones (47:11) and Mike Gratton (47:28) were 27th and 35th respectively while another Eamonn Martin was fourth in the junior race won by Dave Clarke.
Golden Lay Polytechnic Marathon, Windsor, June 10
70th 2:45:05 (PB)
While he may have been capable of well over half a hour faster (or even 40 minutes!) his marathon debut should not be taken too seriously as he ran with a friend for 18 miles and then ran a faster last eight miles in 43 minutes which did allow current AW reporters Martin Duff (2:28:38) and Steve Smythe (2:34:06) to gain a moral victory though he did beat long-time AW contributor and Sunday Times journalist Cliff Temple (2:52:27), who helped write Brendan Foster’s book which had just been published.
Berdford did do another marathon – deciding to do the first London Marathon in 1981 in the early hours of the day of the race while in a Luton nightclub the worst for wear as a bet. And needless to say he struggled.
Southern Six Stage Road Relay, Crystal Palace, October 3
20:25 (Team 3rd)
Back to the scene of his first British record in 1969 and his world record in 1973, Bedford moved Shaftesbury Harriers from fourth to third with the quickest final leg.
The fastest overall was Penny who took his Cambridge Harriers team from 32 seconds back to a decisive 68-second lead with a 19:39 clocking. It was a busy period as in the weeks before that he did a 30:17.46 10,000m that ranked him 51st for 10,000m in 1980 and a few days later he also ran around 14:30 in an open 5000m at Copthall as I remember just about avoiding being lapped by him when I did my still standing PB 41 years ago!
» A fuller list of his competitions (around 250) including some more wins and more of his club races are listed in the member-only Clubhouse section of our website
Bedford’s early days – 1964-65 – CLICK HERE
Bedford’s junior promise to British record from 1965-69 – CLICK HERE
Bedford’s International title and Euro records 1970-71 – CLICK HERE
Bedford’s 1972-74 period plus later highlights – CLICK HERE