HE’S the Southampton marathon runner who has earned himself the nickname “The Cookie Monster”.

Carlo van Leeuwen has completed every single ABP Southampton Marathon dressed as the cookie-loving creature from children’s television show Sesame Street.

But he will ditch the costume for this year’s event, on April 22, as he attempts to break a world record.

The 37-year-old will try to complete a half-marathon in the fastest time while pushing someone in a wheelchair.

But Carlo faces, quite literally, an uphill battle, taking on the incline of the Itchen Bridge while trying to beat the current record of 1.43.48.

He will, however, have the support of friend Joanne Cole – whom he will push round the 13.1-mile course.

Carlo said: “I heard that she was hoping to complete 18 events in 2018 and was up for people pushing her in a wheelchair in things like half-marathons.

“I jokingly asked her if she wanted to go really fast and she said yes.”

Joanne, from Stafford, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2015.

A former personal trainer, she was a keen runner and is raising money for motor neurone disease charities.

Carlo added: “Jo’s such an awesome person, I’m going to be in good company on the way round.”

Last year, Cookie Monster Carlo ran the full 26.2-mile course in 3.58.56, despite the blue suit weighing him down.

And although this year’s challenge will be different, Carlo’s charity of choice will remain the same.

He will run the course to raise money and awareness for The Ian Pratt Motor Neurone Disease Foundation, of which he is a trustee.

Carlo took up the challenge six years ago, following the death of his father from motor neurone disease.

He said: “I thought ‘what better way to raise attention and money than to run dressed in a head-turning costume?’.”

The underfloor heating engineer, who lives in the Itchen area, is currently training for his latest challenge with a practise wheelchair.

On race day, he’ll have an adapted chair that will keep him and Joanne comfortable.

To sponsor Carlo for his challenge visit: www.justgiving.com/CookieMonster55.