Leeds man runs London Marathon dressed as Minion for charity in honour of his mum

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A Leeds man ran the London Marathon dressed as a Minion for charity - in memory of his mum who died from lung cancer.

Kevin Isbister, known as the MaraMinion, has taken part in the costume every year since 2016.

However, his 2021 run was inspired by his beloved mum's legacy after her death from lung cancer in 2019.

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Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation supported Kevin's family and he was eager to give back by raising money for the charity.

PIC: Roy Castle Lung Cancer FoundationPIC: Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
PIC: Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation

‘’I’ve been a runner for many years and after losing my mum, I decided to do something in memory of her and to support this great lung cancer charity", Kevin said.

“My mum was a truly amazing woman."

‘’She was my rock through childhood to adulthood and there for me at every hurdle and success.

"She just always knew what to say, and how to say it. A great mother, friend, and utterly devoted Grandma.

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Kevin Isbister (l) and Chris Evans
PIC: Roy Castle Lung Cancer FoundationKevin Isbister (l) and Chris Evans
PIC: Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
Kevin Isbister (l) and Chris Evans PIC: Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation

“I had a very limited knowledge or understanding of lung cancer before mum’s diagnosis. It was a steep and worrying learning curve, and to be honest, it was frightening; especially learning of the mortality rate.

"I didn’t even know it was the biggest cancer killer in the UK, but now I truly understand how devastating it is and why more needs to be done."

In the run up to the marathon, Kevin also got a shout out from radio DJ Chris Evans and got to meet him and his team.

Kevin explained: “I’ve listened to the Chris Evans show for years, and this year, leading up to the Marathon, Chris was giving the event lots of coverage. In fact, his whole team signed up to take part.

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“On the Thursday morning before the race, I answered a question on the show’s Instagram page - and 24 hours later I was live on the radio with Chris.

“My Instagram feed - @theMaraMinion - had caught the attention of Chris’ production team.

"As I trained in my Minion costume, I’d uploaded loads of funny videos of me running around. Chris and his team started talking about me on air and getting their listeners to follow and watch. On Thursday morning, my Instagram page had 25 followers, and by the end of the day it had 1500!

“That evening, they asked me to go on the show the next morning – just two days before the Marathon – and of course I jumped at the chance!

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“I was surprised at how relaxed I felt talking to Chris on the radio. And at the end of the piece, I asked if the show’s sports presenter, Vassos, would like to run the marathon as a Minion, since I had a spare costume. He said yes straight away!

“I’d planned to run with my cousin Darren, and split our fundraising between two charities, Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation and Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity. The hospital had supported Darren’s daughter when she had successful surgery to remove a tumour on her spine.

“When I met Vassos on the Saturday to give him the costume, he asked if Darren and I would like to join him for dinner – along with Paula Radcliffe, Steve Cram, Chris Evans and the rest of his team!

“Obviously, we were delighted. Darren and I decided to turn up at the restaurant in full Minion costume to surprise them.

"We had a great night; we couldn’t believe our luck."

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Kevin and Darren raised £14,000 together for their respective charities.

Kevin is set to compete in the Yorkshire Marathon this weekend.

He added: “I’m running the Yorkshire Marathon for Macmillan this weekend as they supported my family throughout mum’s treatment.

"I’m clearly going to bring out the MaraMinion and hopefully bring a few more smiles to the streets of York.

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“After that, I intend to launch a much bigger challenge - 12 marathons in 12 months for 12 charities (The MaraMinion 12x12x12)

“For each of these, I will be joined by a guest MaraMinion or two. Vassos is already signed up; I just need 11 more people to take the plunge and join me. Are you up for the challenge? Get in touch!”

To learn more, search Maraminion.

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