Invernessian Jamie MacKenzie will make a transatlantic journey to complete the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon on 24 September – and deliver a promise he made to his late mother. In her many years as the driving force behind the Moray Firth Radio Charity Trust – now known as Cash for Kids – Joyce MacKenzie helped to generate over £1million for those most in need across the Highlands.
Joyce passed away earlier this year after a brief illness and in her final days youngest son Jamie (39), who now lives in the United States, pledged that he would run the 26.2-mile course for causes close to her heart.
He will make the 3,600-mile journey from his home in Chicago to be on the start line with thousands of other runners, but knows that his mother will be with him every step of the way.
Jamie, who moved to the States to work with drinks giant Beam Suntory, took up running while caring for Joyce at her home in Inverness after she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in October last year.
He said: “I found that getting out for a run was a great way to clear the head. Mum lived out near to the Dores Road – on the route of the marathon – and one day it struck me that maybe I could run it to raise money for the Archie Foundation and Highland Hospice.
“When I told mum, she looked at me like I was crazy but didn’t try to talk me out of it like I hoped she would. She knew how hard it would be, but she said it was an excellent idea. So, I’m going to fulfil my promise to her and continue something that was a huge part of her life.
“She was very, very brave throughout the whole illness and showed a huge amount of fortitude. I hope that I can find just a small amount of those qualities when tackling the marathon. I hope that she will be proud and knowing that I’m continuing her legacy will certainly help to get me to get through it.”
Jamie, who will be joined on his trip home by wife Mandy and three-year-old son Archie is collecting donations for his fundraising at his JustGiving page.
General entries to the marathon are now closed but international, club and charity runners can enter until 4 September. This is also the closing date for 10K and 5K. Visit the event website for more information.