Oldest London Marathon runner is from Bedford

86 year old Iva Barr who is running in her 18th London Marathon this year
86 year old Iva Barr who is running in her 18th London Marathon this year

She might 88 years old, but Iva Barr is showing no signs of taking things easy any time soon - she is preparing to run her 20th London Marathon later this month.

Iva will be the oldest runner at the event, and not even recent injuries will stop her in her tracks.

“I’m a lucky lady,” says Iva, who is a member of Bedford Harriers. “I just love doing the London Marathon. It’s like being at the centre of a big street party.

“Training has not been so good this year. I had a fall and hurt my shoulder and then got that injured shoulder bumped again by someone when I was on a run. But one way or another I will get round again!”

Iva’s endeavours have made her something of a celebrity in the town and among the spectators who line the London Marathon route. They have also caught the attention of the man at No.10.

“Prime Minister David Cameron gave me The Point of Light award after last year’s race which was just fantastic,” says Iva. “Then, on top of that, later in the year, I received a Christmas card from him too, which was lovely.”

The Point of Light award recognises outstanding individuals who make a change in their community and inspire others through voluntary work and fundraising.

“It was an unbelievable honour,” says Iva, who is once again running for the disabled children’s charity Whizz-Kidz.

“I’m so grateful for the support I have from everyone, from those at home when I’m out on training runs to the spectators on the day. There are always so many people wishing me well on the road-side and I always make a point of stopping to talk to the children from the Whizz-Kidz charity who are usually watching at mile 22.

“I love running for them.”