Inside Lines: London roads should be paved with gold for marathon man

 

When the gongs are dished out after the Olympics – and you can bet there will be more for those running the Games than gold medals for those running in them – we hope one is engraved with the name of David Bedford.

Although he is no longer involved, having fallen out with the organisers over the marathon course, there is no doubt he has done more than his share to make London the epicentre of world sport in 2012. Once the final shroud of tinfoil is draped around the shoulders of the last straggler to stagger across the finishing line of the Virgin London Marathon around dusk this evening, it will signal the end of an era, as Bedford will step down from his full-time role with the now iconic event he has orchestrated as race director for over two decades, and head home to Hampstead for his usual Sunday night few beers and a curry.

"I might," he says "get rather pissed." 'Bootsie' is hanging up those boots, because, as he puts it "I don't want to be around to overhear them saying 'the old fella's lost it'". Actually, at 62, the one-time red-socked rebel of the track will continue to be "physically and emotionally" attached to the marathon, working as part-time advisor to his successor Hugh Brasher, son of race founder Chris, which enables him to spend more time with his snooker cue and fishing rod.

The aim, as always, says Bedford, is to make everyone of today's 30,100 participants feel special. "I tell everyone that that, apart from having sex for the first time, running the marathon will be the most exciting thing they do in their entire lives." He may never have won a gold medal – or received even a modest MBE – but the former 10,000m word record holder's contribution to his sport on and off the track has been immense. Time it was suitably rewarded.

No boycott over Chambers

As we wrote here a month ago, it was inevitable that the British Olympic Association would come out losers – and some £200,000 poorer after legal fees – when the Court of of Arbitration for Sport rules against their lifetime ban on drugs cheats this week.

The upshot will be that GB will perversely pick Dwain Chambers, even though Usain Bolt and co would need to break a leg for him to win an Olympic sprint medal.

Road cyclist David Millar, the other Brit currently subject to the ban, is a far more likely candidate for the rostrum. Forget any calls for a boycott by fellow athletes though. There's far too much self-interest at stake for that, especially as Chambers and Millar won't be alone in London, where around 800 ex-druggies are already eligible.

Billy Joe's 2012 Overture

Once the Royal Albert Hall was almost as renowned for the sound of for sock as for symphonies. Unfortunately professional boxing's return to the hallowed arena next Friday night for the first time this century is somewhat muted by the withdrawal of Nathan Cleverly from his bill-topping world title fight.

Instead the 2012 overture will be led by young Billy Joe Saunders whose middleweight bout with Tony Hill is elevated to Commonwealth title status, a great opportunity for the promising young Olympian to finally blow his own trumpet.

A heavyweight Miller's tale

Some 200 Olympic books are heading for the shelves this summer –many already on the market – but the daddy of them all has to be the prodigious tome produced by veteran scribe David Miller.

A veritable War And Peace of the of the Games, his Official History of the Olympic Games and the IOC' is an Olympian assembly of stats and stories, though hardly one you would carry around the Olympic Park as your guide to the Games. Unless you happen to be an Olympic weight-lifter...

For the £40, 683-page foot-long, two-inch thick epic published by Mainstream weighs in at six and a half pounds. As Lord Coe said at last week's launch, definitely a book which is harder to pick up than put down.

insidelines@independent.co.uk

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Solutions Architect - Permanent - London - £70k DOE

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

General Cover Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: Great opportunities for Cover...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?