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Otley man set to run York marathon in elephant costume
An elephant from Otley will be among the runners setting out on a new fundraising race this weekend.
Mac the elephant, aka environmental consultant James Richardson, is hoping to raise at least £1,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support by competing in the first Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon.
The 29-year-old is also hoping to raise a few smiles by undertaking the race in York on Sunday, October 20, in a full body elephant suit.
His involvement is a way of saying a very heartfelt thank you to the charity for the invaluable support it gave his mum, Geraldine, during her treatment for breast cancer.
James, who lives at Moor View Farm in Yorkgate, said: “My mum’s now living with breast cancer and it has been an incredibly difficult time for all of us, but Macmillan were incredible and provided support that we just couldn’t.
“That included everything from financial guidance and very practical advice to emotional support to help us get through it, and explaining to my mum what to expect at different stages of treatment.
“Mum asked me to raise money for Macmillan and for me this is just saying thank you for all the care and support they’ve given her.”
James has been doing some unorthodox training to prepare for running more than 26 miles in an elephant suit, including wearing thermal clothes and underwear as he runs.
He said: “I’ve been told there’s going to be quite a bit of discomfort and that it’s going to smell quite bad, so training in the thermals is getting me used to how much I’ll probably sweat.”
As for his unusual choice of fancy dress suit, which he posed in beside London landmarks to drum up publicity, it came down to simple economics: “It was the cheapest, decent quality option I could find online.”
Macmillan’s fundraising manager for Otley, Clara White, said: “Running a marathon is a challenge in itself but running a marathon dressed in a full-size elephant costume really is taking it to the next level.
“We are so grateful for James’s support and we are sure he will inspire others to get involved and make a positive difference to help the growing number of people affected by cancer across the UK.
“We wish him all the best of luck with running the 26.2 miles and we can’t wait to cheer him on to the finish line.”
James’s run for the charity can be supported by visiting justgiving.com/James-Richardson-DumboChallenge or by texting MACN99 and the amount.