Brendan Foster retires after nearly four decades as BBC commentator

The legendary voice of BBC Sport is stepping down after 37 years behind the microphone

145484.5a0e9327-0480-4ce8-bb71-0a862023f0c5

Olympic-runner-turned-commentator Brendan Foster has hung up his microphone for the last time.

Advertisement

The former European 5,000m gold medallist and Commonwealth champion at 10,000m marked the end of his 37 years behind the microphone with a special presentation at the London World Athletics Championships yesterday. 

The 69-year-old was awarded a commemorative picture frame featuring his most memorable moments, as well as a huge roar of applause from the crowd.

In his track days, Foster was named the 1974 BBC Sports Personality Of The Year after winning the 5,000m gold in that year’s European Championships, alongside setting a new world record for the 3,000m (7:35.1).

Foster also founded the annual half-marathon The Great North Run in 1981, which soon became one the biggest sporting events in the UK. In 2014, it became the first race in the world to achieve a million participants.

He retired from the track in 1980 and immediately became one of the leading voices in the BBC’s athletics coverage, commentating on every Commonwealth Games since 1982 and every World Athletics Championships since 1983. He’s also worked on every London Marathon since the event was incepted in 1981. 

Fellow BBC sports team member Jake Humphrey and plenty of fans saluted Foster’s “class, ability and talent” on Twitter. 

Advertisement

Don’t worry though, the microphone’s in safe hands, with fellow long-distance runner Paula Radcliffe becoming Foster’s natural successor, as seen in this pillow ceremony (we don’t get it either) as shown by Gabby Logan.