Great North Run planned for Ishbel

MEMORY: Ishbell Mackinnon (left) will be completing the run in memory of her mother, pictured.
MEMORY: Ishbell Mackinnon (left) will be completing the run in memory of her mother, pictured.

A North-east woman is planning to complete the Great North Run in memory of her mother who died from asthma.

Ishbell Mackinnon, from Banff, is running the world’s biggest half marathon in the memory of her mother, Rita Robertson, who passed away in 2004.

Ishbell (54), says: “When my mum was hospitalised for the last time we were told there was nothing more that could be done. It was a tragic day for the whole family. She had suffered badly with asthma throughout her life. There was always a weakness there and her asthma would always get worse if she had a cold. Every time she got ill it took longer to recover and it took more and more out of her. It’s hard to watch somebody going downhill knowing they are not going to get better.”

She and her 22-year-old daughter, Kristen, also have asthma, and Ishbell says that watching her mother deteriorate has changed how she views the condition. The charity co-ordinator explains: “There’s a degree of fear about what lies ahead of me because of my mum. Seeing what happened to her brought the message home that I need to stay on top of my asthma.”

Mother of two, Ishbell says her asthma is generally well managed and it does not stop her from doing what she loves, including running.

However, there have been times that the condition has impacted her greatly and she remembers having frightening asthma attacks as a child. She recalls: “It’s terrifying trying to breathe and having a tightness that prevents you from doing so. It’s scary and the more you panic the worse it makes

Kristen’s asthma is not as well controlled as her mother’s, and she has had to go to hospital because of it in the past.

“Those times have been very scary because we weren’t able to get her asthma under control,” remembers Ishbel.

“A few years ago, when she was at university, her asthma was really bad and because she hadn’t registered with a GP there the local doctors were refusing to see her. I found it horrific that someone whose asthma was really bad wasn’t being seen when we know that asthma can be fatal.

“Kristen was close to her gran and she saw how she couldn’t go out and about as she had done in the past and how her lifestyle changed as a result of her asthma. I’ve always wanted to do the Great North Run because it’s the world’s biggest half marathon and I’m glad I’m doing it for asthma UK in memory of my mum because it’s such an important cause.”

Helen Olszowska, Head of Events at Asthma UK, says: “We will be cheering Ishbel on as she takes part in the Great North Run in memory of her mother. She is among Asthma UK’s 300 brave supporters taking on the challenge. Their hard work has a great purpose because they will collectively raise more than £100,000 for the charity, which will help the 5.4 million people living with asthma in the UK.”

To support Ishbel, visit

The Great North Run, which began in 1981, now attracts over 50,000 entrants each year, and has included, in the past, entrants such as Paula Radcliffe and Haile Gebrselassie.

For more information on the Great North Run, which sees entrants run from Newcastle’s city centre to South Shields, visit the run’s website at