Bedford a good bet at Nite Moves

The runner spoke with an English accent, which is not unusual in Santa Barbara. But it turns out the Englishman who won the sixth Nite Moves 5-k run on Wednesday night is a bit of a celebrity in running circles.

Tom Bedford, who was hanging out with friends and fellow runners in a pub after doing the London Marathon 2 1/2 years ago, made a bet that he would finish a marathon under 2 hours and 25 minutes during a three-year period. The bets continued to come in and over time reached nearly $30,000.

After falling short at San Diego’s Rock n’ Roll Marathon and the Chicago Marathon in 2009, he won the bet at the Dublin Marathon in Ireland last November, crossing the finish line in 2:24.10. To celebrate his achievement, he did a cartwheel at the end.

Bedford’s donated his winnings to the Entoto Foundation, an organization that dispenses needed medical care to families in Ethiopia. The foundation was started by his late friend Mike Lang, a race coordinator.

Bedford, of London, was the class of the running field on Shoreline Drive, winning in 15 minutes, 37 seconds. Aaron Kleefisch of Ventura, who has been among the top six finishers for the past four races, was second in 17:51 and Solvang’s Jonathan Jackson was third in 18:19. Christine Bjelland of Santa Barbara was the top woman (12th overall) in 19:17.

In the 1-k ocean swim competition, Zack Paris of Goleta won for the second straight week with a time of 15:34. Twelve-year-old Walker Bell of Santa Barbara was second in 15:38 and Taro Moberly of San Luis Obispo third in 15:47.

Moberly, 20, won the swim-run aquathon with a total time of 36:23. Ben Leinfelder took second in 39:43 and Carl Parker was third in 40:08.  Karen Schultz was the top woman in 44:14.