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The Independent Online
With his Zapata moustache, unruly hair and irreverent red socks, David Bedford helped substantially to popularise athletics in his spectacular front-running style. He smashed the 10,000 metres world record by some eight seconds in 1973, although his career lacked a major championship medal.

The moustache is greyer now - "a distinguished silver, kinder people would say" - but at 46 Bedford remains instantly recognised and has found seemingly the ideal niche as both head of marketing and international race director for the Flora London Marathon, charged with wooing both sponsors and big-name participants.

After his retirement from running, Bedford had a brief career as a night- club owner before becoming heavily involved in athletics administration, often controversially. He is a former secretary of both the Amateur Athletic Association and the British Athletic Federation and current chairman of Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers, his original club.

No less colourful a character off the track, he has had to temper some indulgences since falling seriously ill with a perforated colon. "Happily, I'm 100 per cent healthy now but I'm attempting to eat fewer curries," he said.

Bedford ran in his own event in 1992 but is now merely a weekend jogger. "There is no time for serious training so I just jog around Hampstead Heath, where I always used to run. I know every inch of it. I bought a house in the village three years ago, 30 yards from the hospital where I was born."

Divorced, he has a 12-year-old son, Tom, whom he takes to watch Tottenham. "He has turned me from a lifelong QPR fan into a Spurs nut."