Bedford quits as 2012 marathon chief

Updated: Apr 05, 2011, 10:07 AM IST

London: David Bedford has quit as chief of the 2012 Olympic marathon because of his "frustration" with Games organisers, officials said on Monday.

Bedford, a former distance world record holder who is also race director of the hugely popular annual London Marathon, said he had resigned from the Olympic role in February. "I quit my role; I resigned," he told a newspaper.

"We (London Marathon) are a professional business run by professionals and it was very difficult to work for another organisation who in the main have never organised an event of their own."

London Marathon chief executive Nick Bitel told the newspaper: "David has decided not to work on the Olympic events any more. That`s his personal choice and I very much regret his decision. The decision was due to his frustration with LOCOG`s (London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games) approach to event management."

Bedford also criticised LOCOG`s handling of a dispute with Tower Hamlets, the London borough in the shadow of the Olympic Park, over the marathon route.

Tower Hamlets, a deprived part of east London, called for a judicial review after LOCOG re-routed the race to avoid the borough and the main stadium, taking it instead past many of the capital`s landmarks with the start and finish outside Buckingham Palace, Queen Elizabeth`s official residence.

The threat of a review was dropped in February after LOCOG agreed to concessions, including better job opportunities for local people.

"Had the 2012 organisers engaged with Tower Hamlets and told them what was happening and why it would have been alright but they didn`t," Bedford was quoted as saying.

"They dropped it on them as a fait accompli and that`s not the way you should treat a partner."

Bedford, easily recognisable by his drooping moustache during his racing days, held the world record at 10,000 metres, but fell short in major competitions.

LOCOG said the decision to leave had been Bedford`s.

"It hasn`t affected the strong working relationship that the London Marathon has with LOCOG," it added in a statement.

Bureau Report