Search

Former world record holder David Bedford ‘was no good at sport at school’

12:30 15 November 2012

David Bedford Running on Hampstead Heath

David Bedford Running on Hampstead Heath

Pic By Nigel Sutton 17 Redington Rd,London NW3 7QX Tel 020 7794 3008 e.mail n.sutton@btinternet.com

The intellectuals of Hampstead might have given way to barristers and bankers and the high street overhauled, but for 62 years Hampstead Heath has been a constant for former long distance runner David Bedford.

That moustache

n David Bedford’s red socks, shaggy hair and droopy moustache made him the most distinctive long distance runner of his generation. He ran in the 1972 Munich Olympics.

n In 2004 the former world record holder sued 118 118 directory enquiries for using his image without permission. Media regulator Ofcom found in his favour but he was left to foot a £60,000 legal bill – with no compensation.

n Asked if he ever considered going clean shaven, he said of his moustache: “It’s there to stay, but I preferred it when it was black.”

Born a stone’s throw from the wild land, his connections with the capital’s largest open space run deep.

In the 1800s one side of his family busied themselves farming the land, while the other policed the streets of the village and its neighbouring beauty spot.

“I live 30 metres from where I was born in Queen Mary’s [Maternity Home] and it’s now an old people’s home, so I might complete the round trip without moving very far,” the sporting icon joked from his flat overlooking the Heath.

The former world record holder for the 10,000m first fell in love with the Heath at the age of 14.

“I was no good at sport at school until they introduced cross country,” said Mr Bedford.

“People who left their kit at home were forced to walk around the park, well I jogged it and found I was quite good at it. That was great for a youngster to find a sport that I was actually good at.”

For the next 30 odd years Mr Bedford roamed around the Heath discovering every nook and cranny, before his knackered knees forced him to pack it in.

In that time Mr Bedford, who swims in the ponds, discovered places such as Pitt House Gateway near Jack Straw’s Castle.

The little-known landmark is what is left of North End House where former Prime Minister William Pitt stayed as he battled depression in 1766.

While the Heath has stayed the same, the rest of Hampstead has changed beyond recognition for Mr Bedford, a loyal regular at the Duke of Hamilton pub in New End.

Ten pubs have pulled their last pints and the high street has changed, with the village becoming a “white ghetto”.

“People come here because it’s safe, but the problem with that is they shut their doors and they do not make links in the village,” said the former race director for the London Marathon.

“It just reduces the size of the village and that for me is somewhere you can go and meet your mates or nip down to the shops.”

Mr Bedford is set to give a talk tomorrow (Friday, November 16) at Burgh House in New End Square about his memories of Hampstead over the last half century.

Tickets are still on sale for £25 and can be bought from the museum.

0 comments

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 15:23
Emma will be in the MasterChef final tonight

This year’s BBC hit show MasterChef has seen a mother-of-four from East Finchley beat other amateur chefs from across the country to reach the finals.

Yesterday, 13:34
An elderly woman was rushed to hospital.

A 94-year-old woman is fighting for her life after being hit by a car in Golders Green.

Yesterday, 12:50
Louise Berwin with her four-wheel walker. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

Louise Berman has no feeling below her left knee but that will not stop her trekking almost 27 miles through the capital this weekend.

Yesterday, 12:00
Lauderdale House director Katherine Ives with donors who have put money into Lauderdale Transformed, from left Hanka Bednarova, Liz Morris, Katherine Ives, Christoph Schedl, Geoffrey Walker and Catherine Budgett Meakin. Picture: Polly Hancock

Time is running out for a historic house as it enters the final week of its innovative online crowdfunding campaign to secure its future for generations to come.

Most read news

Property Newsletter Sign-up

The latest North London property news and features straight into your inbox.

Other Emails:
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Spruce up for spring with this beauty bundle from Justmylook!

Looking to update your look for spring? Well, you’re in luck.

Glen Moray whiskey could be winging its way to you.

The Glen Moray Classic is a classic Speyside single malt and forms the starting point for the Classic Range.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder