EXCLUSIVE: Sir Mo Farah, by those who know him best - Tom Bedford
In an exclusive mini-series, Sports Gazette speaks to friends, former training partners and coaches of Sir Mo Farah about his career highlights and ambitions!
Tom Bedford has running in his blood, being the son of David Bedford, the 10,000 metre world-record breaker in 1973 and race director of the London Marathon (as well as the inspiration for the 118 adverts!).
David was one of the main reasons why Farah went to St. Mary's University, Twickenham, but Tom was one of the main reasons why he enjoyed it so much there.
Bedford was part of the first team at the Endurance Performance and Coaching Centre (EPACC) at St Mary’s, and was Farah's training partner.
In his autobiography, Farah said: "Tom became a great friend of mine. Neither of us could resist playing a joke or doing something nuts."
At Farah’s track naming event at St. Mary's, Bedford told the Sports Gazette that it was a family unit in their accommodation 'High View' and they felt privileged to be the first halls to have a kitchen!
“We were the first ones so we felt like superstars,” he added.
“It was a real bond with everyone else and we did feel special. We did a lot of training with each other.”
One thing that stood out most for Bedford was the Monday night 'burn-ups' around Bushy Park, and he said he would have constant memories of the hard training.
Speaking about their friendship, he joked that Farah would have probably been a bit more of a superstar if they hadn't been such good friends.
He said: “Looking back on it now, maybe a lot of the socialising, such as the Wednesday social nights, probably held him back a lot.
“It was a constant battle with him getting to lectures. The endurance guys have now changed because of our bad habits, but it was a really good family unit at the time.”In London he is going to cement his legacy, finish on two gold medals and he will be athletics' greatest athlete.”
When Farah and Bedford were at St Mary’s it was just the beginning - the track there was known as the 'Upside Down' track - but now it’s turned into something pretty special.
Bedford said: “We were part of the first team here that won the cross country team race and now its sort of a given each year so the guys here will continue to do it.”
It hasn’t always been a straight road for Farah though. During his time at St. Mary's he had many injuries, but Bedford said he was looked after well by a lot of the staff. He believes that’s one of the main reasons Farah remains in the sport, and is where he is today.
Bedford thinks Farah will see more success, and says this isn’t the end for his career.
He said: “In London he is going to cement his legacy, finish on two gold medals and he will be athletics' greatest athlete.
“He’s still got a marathon British record to get at the least. He will then go on and have a good couple of years at successful road running and my personal view is once he has achieved that, then he can retire.”
For the rest of the mini-series, follow the links below:
Track legend and BBC athletics commentator Steve Cram
St. Mary's Head of 2012 Preparations and Sport Strategy Dick Fisher
St. Mary's Endurance Performance and Coaching Centre (EPACC) Technical Director of Endurance Zara Hyde Peters
EPACC coach Craig Winrow