Richard Low. Picture: Iain Gillespie/The West Australian

When a friend started calling Richard Low "The Bear" for his love of eating and sleeping, it triggered a drive in him that no one could have imagined.

Mr Low emerged from hibernation, invested in a bear suit and took up running for charity with a vengeance.

VIDEOS: Run for a Reason exercise tips

Wearing his bear suit, Mr Low, a chemical engineer, has completed several fun runs and even a half-marathon last year, all wearing the recognisable bear suit. Only two years ago, he could barely run 5km.

On Sunday, he will pull the 4kg bear suit on again (along with a 2kg ice vest and a 1kg water bag) for the HBF Run for a Reason, presented by The West Australian, and will run the 14km event in a bid to raise money and awareness for Diabetes WA.

Mr Low's grandmother, Ly Lien, has diabetes and Mr Low has watched as it has affected her health and her life.

"She is starting to need more checks on her eyes and legs. Diabetes is really affecting her quality of life," Mr Low said.

He hopes The Bear Man will become a feature on the Australian running circuit and plans to support a different charity each year. He plans to complete a half-marathon in every capital city next year.

"Some people do think I'm mad doing this but I think it's a good exercise in mental toughness," Mr Low said.

Mr Low must take extra precautions on Sunday because the bear suit gets incredibly hot.

During any given run, he will lose about 4kg in sweat.

The West Australian

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