THE Cookie Monster will return to the ABP Southampton Marathon for a fifth year.

After Carlo Leeuwen’s father passed away from motor neurone disease, he signed up for a one-off run to raise as much money and awareness as he could for the condition.

Carlo completed his first event, realised he really enjoyed running, and has been running ever since to raise awareness of MND.

In his first year taking part in the ABP Southampton Marathon, Carlo ran the 10k and followed it by completing the half marathon on the same day.

In his second year, he ran the half again and in his third year he ran the full distance.

Last year Carlo ran the half marathon once again in his fancy dress costume, giving him a total of £10,000 raised for the MND cause.

Carlo said: “I have run in fancy dress each year, raising an amazing amount for a brilliant cause.

“This year I’ve updated my outfit and it feels like it might be a bit more of a challenge but I’m yet to run in it.

“Living in Itchen, it is really fun to run in my adopted home town. The atmosphere is fantastic.”

Kate Warne, community liaison officer for the marathon, said: “We love having Carlo in his Cookie Monster costume every year, raising money for such an incredible cause.

“It’s inspiring to see so many runners doing what they love to raise money and awareness for such a wide range of charities.

“We are on track for our runners to have collectively raised over £1m for charities from the ABP Southampton Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k event since the event started in 2015.

“Good luck to all of our charity runners, we can’t wait to hear about what the money raised goes towards.”

The ABP Southampton Marathon takes place on May 5.