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David Bedford press conference

The London Marathon enters a new era

27 April 2009

Less than 24 hours after the sunny spectacle of the 2009 Flora London Marathon thrilled more than 750,000 spectators, plus millions of TV viewers across the world, race director David Bedford hailed the start of a new era in the event’s history today.

The 2009 London Marathon brought the era of Flora sponsorship to a close in some style on Sunday with course records in the elite men’s and men’s wheelchair races, a second successful title defence in the elite women’s race and a thrilling finish in the women’s wheelchair event.

Among the 35,306 finishers, there were also some incredible personal triumphs, including 10 Guinness World Records for fancy dress runners, while more than £45 million is expected to have been raised for charity by London entrants.

In the celebrity stakes, the model Nell McAndrew posted a highly impressive time of 3:10:20, quick enough to gain her entry to the national championship race, while actor Tony Audenshaw ran 3:15:31. In the battle of Boyzone Keith Duffy beat Ronan Keating while one competitor, Major Phil Packer is still out on the course with 20 miles to go.

Bedford said: “The weather helped, of course, but we also had some great races and some great performances. The crowds were unprecedented and they certainly added to an amazing day.”

Yesterday’s race also marked the end of an era, a period of sponsorship with Flora that goes back to 1996.

“To have had 14 years with one sponsor is incredible,” said Bedford. “That stability has allowed us to build systems and grow to the stage where we could put on the kind of show we all saw yesterday. In my mind it was the easiest and best event we have done.

“There is some sadness, of course that this period is coming to an end but there’s great excitement too that we are moving on.”

Bedford unveiled the event’s new logo, saying:

“It is the end of an era but we are now looking ahead to the 2010 Virgin London Marathon when I hope there will more fantastic races to mark the start of another fantastic period for us.”