Former Telegraph editor-in-chief and Times managing editor John Bryant dies at 76

Journalist and author John Bryant, who played a pivotal role in the success of the London Marathon, has died at the age of 76.

He died peacefully at his home in Surrey yesterday following a long battle with illness.

Bryant became one of the UK’s most esteemed newsmen after beginning his journalism career at the Edinburgh Evening News.

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He joined Telegraph Media Group as editor-in-chief in 2005 where he spent a tumultuous year including the departures of Daily Telegraph editor Martin Newland and Sunday Telegraph editor Sarah Sands, resulting in him also taking on the acting editorship of the daily paper until Will Lewis took on the role in October 2006.

Bryant also oversaw the move to a new state-of-the-art offices in London Victoria and a converged newsroom which resulted in 54 jobs being axed.

He later said being editor-in-chief was a “terrific job” despite being a “terrifically taxing year”.

“What I did was to get the Telegraph back to punching its weight as a respected paper,” he said.

Bryant’s previous roles in a career spanning more than four decades included managing editor and deputy editor of The Times and consultant editor and features editor at the Daily Mail.

He edited the short-lived Sunday Correspondent and The European newspapers in 1990 and 1991 respectively.

He became chairman of the Press Association Trust, the body that monitored how the news agency meets its principles, upon its launch in 2008.

Bryant also left an indelible mark on UK athletics, having played a key role in the evolution of the London Marathon.

He fell in love with running as a child in the village of Haselbury Plucknet, Somerset, when he was able to catch up to the school bus as it was driving through the village.

While studying law at Oxford University, Bryant was captain of the cross-country running club and represented British Universities on the track.

He continued to run throughout his adulthood and published his first book on the subject, Jogging, in 1979.

He went on to write several more books on running – the most famous of which was 3:59.4, which detailed Roger Bannister’s quest to break the four-minute mile.

After developing a close friendship with Chris Brasher, founder of the London Marathon, Bryant would go on to play a part in developing the event into the global institution that it is today.

He also participated in 29 London marathons, many of which came after he was hit by a car during a training run and told he would not walk again.

He is survived by his wife, Carol, two sons, Matthew and William and six grandchildren.

Picture: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

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