Something in the Ayr at Go! Festival
GO! Festival Ayr is set to be one of the big Scottish running events of the year. In addition to what is being billed as 'Ayrshire's first mass participation half marathon event' the Saturday 7 September race card includes a 10K and the 'Men in Pants' 5K challenge.
But it is the half marathon that is the feature event. Experienced race organisers Cannonball Events have designed a top class course which is flat, fast and very scenic.
Course highlights include the start on the seafront at Low Green with Arran as a backdrop; the early stages in the town centre, the middle sections of the race passing the town's golf courses; the 'Land O'Burns', the Burns Museum cottage, Rozelle Park, Brig o'Doon and the coastal stretches passed Greenan Castle Ruin towards the finish.
It's a smashing (closed roads) course and one that Cannonball boss John Lloyd is proud of. John, a member of Salford Harriers, who clocked 2:42 at Manchester Marathon in April knows what runners are looking for.
He told runABC Scotland online: "We've worked hard to include lots of interest around the course but we've also aimed to have some clear stretches were you can get into a groove and stretch out. We've built in lots of great vistas to take your mind of the hard work. This half marathon also works well for runners with a target autumn marathon like Loch Ness or Berlin."
John continued: "Another key feature of the GO! Festival Ayr races is that there will be a great party atmosphere. The race times are unusual - the half marathon starts at 5.00pm, the 10k at 4.20pm. This is to coincide with the early evening air display and fireworks on the beach which means that race finishers will be able to celebrate in style.
"Ayr is a terrific town with lots of great cafes and bars so plenty of places to recover post-race. We're actively encouraging runners to make a day of it, or even a weekend, and bring the family.
"There's an event village, a family cycle ride and the charity 5k (in partnership with Ayrshire Cancer Support) PLUS pipe band, DJs and much more so lots happening over the course of the afternoon and evening."
GO! Festival Ayr has recently created a group on Facebook for entrants to share advice and tips and you can also follow the conversation on Facebook and on Twitter.
Mark Gallacher is an ambassador for the GO! Festival Ayr and he's encouraging new runners to take part and offering friendly and humorous advice at his award-winning blog.