Meet the Plymouth pensioner who is one of the London Marathons oldest competitors

Edmund Shillabeer commpeted in the first London Marathon in 1981 Credit: Katie Oborn

A pensioner from Plymouth is running the London Marathon on Sunday, making him one of the race's oldest competitors.

Edmund Shillabeer is no stranger to a marathon and completed his first London Marathon in 1981, the first year the race was held in the capital.

He has since completed more than 25 marathons.

The 83-year-old will be running the race to raise money for the charity Soldiers', Sailors' & Airmen's Family Association (SSAFA).

Mr Shillabeer's father and uncle both served in the Royal Marines and his dad also fought in the Second World War.

He is still working as a veterinary surgeon and has helped hundreds of pets and their families since the 1960s.

Mr Shillabeer isn't worried about finishing the marathon and knows he's more than ready but he is slightly worried about the time in which he might finish it.

He said: “I’m starting to look forward to it now and I believe I can get a finish, moving on as fast as I can but not being worried about the timing too much. I realised that the 2023 London Marathon is on St. George's Day so I decided to enter.

"As a long-term SSAFA supporter I chose to raise money for this worthy organisation."

Mr Shillabeer is currently hosting a Ukrainian family who he says are now "part of my family".

Maksym Litinov from Kharkiv has been helping train Edmund and will drive him to London in Preparation for the weekend's marathon and will be 'looking out' for him during the race.

Edmund has run more than 25 marathons over the years. Credit: Katie Oborn

Edmund met Maksym's father in the summer of 1990 at the European Master Athletics Championships in Budapest, he opened up his house for Maksym's family after the war in Ukraine broke out.

Of the 50,000 people taking part in the London Marathon this year, there are more than 300 participants over the age of 70 but only 12 over the age of 80.

Edmund isn't the oldest runner, however, with a 90-year-old taking that crown.


Edmund is hoping to raise £2,500 raising money for SSAFA.

On his fundraising page he said: "At 83 years young and still a full-time vet, I am blessed to be able to take part, not least because I have had to overcome several serious health challenges in the last three years including cancer.

"So please help me achieve my goal by giving as much as you can!"