Marathon runner, 87, is presented with prime minister’s award

London Marathon's oldest runner Iva Barr, 87, of Bedford.
London Marathon's oldest runner Iva Barr, 87, of Bedford.

The London Marathon’s oldest female runner has been presented with an award by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Iva Barr, 87, of Bedford, is the latest recipient of the Point of Light award, which recognises outstanding individual volunteers, people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others.

She said: “I am dumbfounded and it’s so exciting to receive this award.”

Iva’s first London Marathon was in 1982 when she was aged 55 in front of just 10,000 spectators. In April this year the retired teaching assistant ran her 19th marathon in the City, which was in front of around 700,000 people.

In 2011, she took part in the Forces March, running five marathons in five days where she was the oldest lady to take part and completed it in four and a half days.

Today she is still a member of the Bedford Harriers Athletics Club and plans to continue running until she is 90.

Everyday someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the prime minister’s award to celebrate their achievements.

Mr Cameron said: “Few people dream of running one marathon let alone more than 20, especially in their seventies and eighties. The charities Iva has raised thousands of pounds for have been cheering her on every step of the way and when Iva finally hangs up her trainers she can be immensely proud of what she has achieved. Iva is an inspiration to us all and I am delighted to make her the UK’s 299th Point of Light.”

Iva has run marathons on behalf of several charities over the years, raising more than £10,000. This year she ran for WhizzKids, a good cause that transforms the lives of disabled children by providing mobility equipment.

She has also been a volunteer at Bedford Day Care Hospice for almost 20 years.

MP for Bedford and Kempston Richard Fuller said: “Iva Barr is an inspiration whose commitment, enthusiasm and British pluck put many of us who are younger to shame. Iva is a worthy recipient of this award and I hope her example will motivate many others.”