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Bedford hails "an amazing day"

26 April 2010

Race director Dave Bedford described the first Virgin London Marathon as "an amazing day" at the end of "an amazing week" this morning as he invited the event's 2010 male and female champions to return in 12 months' time to defend their titles.

"We've had quite an amazing day and two fantastic races," he said. "We had a record number of finishers [36,549 by 7pm on Sunday evening], a significant increase of 35,694 [in 2007].

"We managed to give everyone a medal yesterday but there were a couple of hundred people who didn't get a goody bag and a t-shirt on the day - we will be distributing those in the next few days."

Only 435 starters failed to finish on Sunday, despite the surprisingly wet conditions. But then, as Bedford put it, "You can never plan a barbecue in the UK."

"We also had fantastic races, and we've got some great champions," he added, referring to men's winner Tsegaye Kebede and women's champions Liliya Shobukhova. "We will, of course, be inviting them both back to run in 2011."

After a day of records, Bedford picked out the London Marathon's first Royal finisher, in Princess Beatrice. "I have been told that her mother, the Duchess of York, was so impressed by her daughter's efforts that she's declared she's going to run," he said.

"Sir Richard Branson also enjoyed his day - he is now a marathon runner in his own right, and we also had the first serving Lord Mayor of London to complete the course," he added, referring to Nick Anstee, the London Marathon director.

"I've had hundreds of messages saying we are the best marathon in the world by far, and that's what we aim to be.

"Congratulations to our champions and we look forward to seeing everyone again on 17 April 2011 for the second Virgin London Marathon."