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? Partnership ?

We had a great day at Ayr racecourse with John Boyd, the Building Society manager for Troon, and Hamish, the Scottish Building Society mascot!

Join us on Sunday the 6th of October at the Ayr Classic Run!

? https://www.theayrclassicrun.co.uk


Top jockeys at the Scottish Grand National reckon the famous course has backed a winner by staging their first race for runners of all ages.

Danny Cook and Callum Bewley were thrilled to support the inaugural Ayr Five Mile Classic Road Run where human runners of all abilities and ages can follow in the hoofprints of Takingrisks on October 6.

They donned running vests as they warmed up for Saturday’s big race with Danny on Vintage Clouds and Callum on Blue Flight.

Danny said: “I think it’s a great idea to have a Classic Road Run at a course like Ayr. Jockeys often jog round the track preparing for a race and running is a great way of keeping up our fitness and the weight off.”

And Callum, who is based in the borders, added: “I enjoy running round the track and to organise runs like this on leading racecourses makes sense and will hopefully raise lots of money for good causes.”

The route stays strictly off the grass and with no jumps to navigate, the going is guaranteed to be good as the route follows a pathed circuit around the one-and-a-half-mile course.

Thousands are expected to sign up for the showpiece five-mile event, the 3k junior run and the family mile.

And with free admission for friends and family plus some great entertainment, there will be no shortage of noise and atmosphere to spur the runners on.

Ayr joins Cheltenham, Aintree and Newmarket as the latest racecourse to turn over its track to athletics.

Enter now to secure your place:


Mental Preparation


I wanted to put my thoughts on mentality out in today’s blog as I find it at the forefront of my current training. Next weekend I run in the World Cross Championships in Denmark. I have put in over 1000 miles of training already in 2019 and know that I have completed sessions faster and more comfortable than ever before. However, at this level the physical side of training is worthless without the required mental strength and focus. I have spent hours simply visualizing the race and the motions of the day leading up to it. These seemingly little things help your mind to ready your body for what’s to come.




If you have ever had a power cut or boiler breakdown and as a result had to take a cold shower you will know that initial few seconds of mental preparation; you have stared at the water for a few seconds, put your hand out to feel just how cold it is, then shut your eyes and taken a deep breath preparing mentally for what’s to come.  I’m not sure that any amount of mental focus can overcome that initial breathlessness a cold shower shocks you with, however it does help a little.





Why is Mental prep important?


It could be argued that this blog should have been placed further down the line, when you have already completed a decent majority of your training and are looking for those nitty gritty performance boosts.


However, personally I think mental preparation is just as important as getting the physical runs and training sessions completed. I believe the earlier you consider this element of training within your plan, the more you will get out of yourself. I call it training deliberately, you have to practise it to get better at it.


How do you prepare?



If you have some form of training plan in place you may spend your day at work dreading that scheduled 7pm run; maybe you’re tired, stressed or maybe you’ve just looked out the window and the reality of running in British weather has set in.


I sometimes find that just spending some energy thinking about the details of certain runs that I am perhaps not looking forward to actually makes them easier. Whether it’s a relaxed run, faster speed session or a long run, breaking it down in your head can really help.


What do I mean by breaking it down?



Don’t dwell on that tough section…


If you have ran the route before then you will be able to visualize it in your head, usually you will automatically think about the hardest part of the route – the half mile uphill drag, or the tedious loop of an industrial estate – but I find if you tell yourself that the harder section is just one section of many on the run then you add perspective and it doesn’t seem quiteas bad.


Split it up further…


Another similar method is to split your run into quarters or thirds. Either map the route out before you start or use a route that you have previously completed.


I personally find that the first quarter of a run is the hardest part, on easy run days I will usually be quite tired starting out and so will run as slow as I feel is necessary until I have warmed up a bit. This often means a literal shuffle down the driveway and along the first few streets. Once I am able to produce a style more comparable to a run than awkward speed-walk, I can begin to relax into the run. It is often surprising how much better you feel later in runs than when starting out within the first few minutes.


My best advice is to focus as intensely as possible on staying relaxed. It’s a paradox and sounds ridiculous, how can you think about being relaxed when pushing your body to it’s physical limits? It takes practise, but it works.


The body’s natural reaction to fatigue when running is to seize up; you will want to start clenching your fists tighter, grimacing with your jaw, pushing your shoulders up into your neck and rolling your arms… If you can focus on reducing these factors, then you will run more efficiently even if it does not feel like you are.



Getting race focussed


Being in the right mindset when it comes to race day can be a huge performance booster


If you have ever gone into an exam underprepared, then you already know the feeling of standing on a race start line without being in the right mindset. You might have put in the physical training, but it is just as important to prepare your thoughts.


If you know your race is coming up, I think you should give the actual race day some thought every day for at least two weeks leading up to the race.


What to think about?


Anything related to the day. Think about what time you are going to get up at, what are you going to eat – fuelling is hugely important, I will talk more about it in an upcoming blog -, how are you getting to the race and what time are you leaving to get there on time? Your race kit, your warm up, how will you stay warm on the start line, how and when will you fuel during the race, what is your goal pace and how will you stay on track to achieve it, think about the route itself; where are those hard sections and do you have a plan for tackling them.


There is a limitless list of what to give some thought energy to, a little bit a day for at least a couple of weeks pre-race will go a long way.



Don’t obsess


I have just told you to think about anything and everything to do with the race day in the lead up to it. But now I’m going to tell you not obsess over the details.


Things can and will go wrong. You have to be able to adapt to whatever curveballs the day throws at you without panicking. Maybe there’s a traffic jam on the way to the event and you don’t get your usual warm up in, maybe the wind is blowing a gale throwing your paces out the window, or maybe the milk has just gone off and you can’t have your usual morning cuppa.


Keep a sensible head on your shoulders, don’t waste energy worrying and you will be to overcome any slight issues.


I ran in a 10km race in Paris at the end of last year and of all things to forget it was my club racing vest. I remember thinking it was a huge deal that I’d have to race in a t-shirt instead of a vest as nobody else on the line would be wearing one. However, after taking a minute to calm down and think I realised that all my training is done in t-shirts and apart from about 10 grams of weight difference, there is no difference!



Practising the correct mindset is a way to improve your performance without even putting in extra miles. I’m a believer that you can think your way to achieving more than you think you are physically capable of. Give it a try and it might just work!




The weather in Scotland is back to its usual miserable self, up here we call it ‘dreich’ or; wearisome, long winded, dull, uninteresting, you get the point. When out running in such conditions you really don’t think much about the gadgets on your wrist or the topography of your last mile, it’s usually just surviving the run. However, I want to talk a little bit about the useful technological aids to training currently on the market.  


None of this section is really essential to getting fit, it can help you keep track of your progress easier, but so can a pen and notepad. If you are considering these items, then you are probably quite into your fitness and prioritizing your money towards it.


I personally need my GPS watch and Strava app – will talk more about this – to keep a track of what I have done that week and know how much I still need to do. Most phones will have GPS tracking capabilities and when combined with an app like Strava you could get away without using a watch, however most phones aren’t compatible with British weather.


My essential item: GPS watch. Probably the number one item for most athletes. For me it shows me the pace I am running so that I don’t go too fast or slow on day to day runs. Also allows me the ability to analyse the statistics from each run: Pace change, topography, heart rate, cadence etc. There are plenty of options on the market, I use the Garmin Forerunner 230 which is one of Garmin’s most basic models however has more than enough stats for me.


I usually wear my GPS watch every road race, I don’t really check it during the race as I’d say I’m far too focussed on staying relaxed to even glance down at my wrist and process the numbers. I like wearing it because I can analyse the data post-race, it allows me to see where I might have slowed down and then think back to why I slowed; was it fatigue or a lapse in concentration, was it on the hills or a change in surface? GPS data can be quite useful in these cases.


Useful apps


If you do not want to fork out for a fancy watch, there are some other options.


Mapmyrun is a free to use website that allows you map out your planned route using a google map and so you will have a fairly accurate measure of how far you are running. From there you can divide your time by the overall distance to get your average pace for the run!


Strava is my choice of app to record my training, it will sync automatically with a GPS watch via Bluetooth, or you can manually upload training sessions and runs. This just keeps everything together in the one place making it easy to track progress. One unique aspect of Strava is that you can track or create your own ‘segments’; this allows you to track your improvements on certain segments of runs or compare them to your friends’ times for those particular sections of your runs.


You can download and use the app for free, however there are paid versions that offers varieties of other extras such as their Training Pack, Safety Pack and Analysis Pack.


More information on what is included in each back at Strava: http://www.strava.com/features


I personally use the free version of Strava just to keep a log of my training which works fine and has all of the stats I need. You can follow me to see what I get up to in training here:




Runtastic:Much like Strava, this app allows you to keep a detailed history of your runs, allowing you to set mileage goals. You will also be able to view your runs on a detailed map like Strava.


The unique feature of this app is the voice coach. If you have your phone and earphones with you on your run, the voice coach will tell you your pace, total duration, calories burned etc at each milestone of your run. Don’t think it would be my cup of tea, but maybe if you enjoy running with people you’d like this!


To conclude, there are definitely some gadgets on the market that will make life preparing for your next race easier. I think it is important to remember that although the gadgets are marketed to look like they make the physical running part easier, this is not the case; by all means use them as an aid, but mental preparation is key… more on this next time


Don’t bother checking the watch





We are absolutely delighted to welcome Scottish Building Society as a partner for our Ayr Classic Run event.

Scottish Building Society will be our official title sponsor for The Ayr Classic Scottish Building Society Junior Run.



We are delighted to reveal our official finishers medal & t-shirt.

All participants who finish our 5 mile event will receive a unique racecourse inspired medal and t-shirt.

Can you spot the horseshoe & runner hidden within our medal?

Earn yours and enter today!


My last week has consisted of two 5km road races at almost opposite ends of Europe. First up was the Armagh 5km in Northern Ireland, a relatively small event in total numbers, but huge in depth: a total of 113 runners ran inside 15 minutes… I am pretty sure they said this was a world record for most runners under the 15minute barrier in a single race. There was nothing fancy about Armagh, just a committed race committee that put in a lot of work to assemble a top International field. The proof of the success was in the results here.


A short stop off back in Glasgow to change kit and I was off to my next race, the inaugural Herculis 5km in Monaco, France. As you can imagine this event was a bit fancier. Held on the famous Monaco grand prix circuit, the aim of the event was to break the men’s and women’s world records for the distance, which was achieved. I ended up in 5thwith a time of 14.08, so a bit off the pace of winner Julian Wanders who ran 13.29, however as my training is targeted towards the longer distances, I haven’t stressed over it. I’ll now move on and target the World Cross Country trials in the slightly less glamorous town of Loughborough in a few week’s time.


My point here is that I attended two races last week, the budgets for each were very different however at the end of the day both were high standard 5km races, both produced world records in their own rights and both had different goals. We can apply this situation to runners with their kit… different budgets can produce the same results!  


When it comes to what you need to run, the basics are simple and quite accessible; a good attitude to achieving your targets is number one. This means having a goal in mind, are you running to achieve a certain time over a certain distance, or is it to lose weight, have some alone time. Whatever the goal is, I believe it’s important to always give it at least a bit of thought before stepping out the door.


It is easy to go overboard with gear when it comes to fitness. I want to provide a rundown of the necessary basics and should you have more of a budget I am also going to recommend my top tech items.


Running Shoes


A little analogy… During my stint at Tulsa University in America, the track and field team was sponsored by Brand A, I had worn this brands shoe for years and so knew they worked. When I moved into my second year, the team changed sponsor to Brand B and so I moved shoe to their less cushioned model. I trained as normal throughout the winter season and just as I was getting close to starting my racing campaign, I picked up shin splints as a result of moving into a less cushioned shoe. My racing season was severely affected by the uniformed decision to change shoe. What did I learn? Find a shoe that works and stick with it!


If you take anything form this post, I’d recommend it’s this section. For beginner runner’s appropriate footwearshould be the main focus when it comes to gear. You can go out and run in your converse if you want, but you won’t last long. The main issue with running in inappropriate footwear is that most people will be running on concrete or paved roads – this does not mix well with the body’s natural shock absorbers. You can find abundances of information as to how the human body is designed to run barefoot, but I strongly advise the beginner to ignore this, regardless of your biomechanics belief humans aren’t designed to run on concrete.


The best action to take when starting out is to invest in the correct shoe, visit your local specialistrunning store and take their recommendation on the shoes that suits your foot. It will likely be the most cushioned and comfortable shoe you have ever worn.


By investing into the correct footwear, you minimise the risk of picking up annoying and avoidable little injuries. You will probably still experience some form of injury – everybody does at every level of sport – however your chances will be significantly lower if you wear the correct shoes from the start of your fitness journey.


What else do I need?




In my opinion running shoes are the only essential bit of kit. Everything else from here will just make your life a bit easier.


I touched on clothing in the last blog. The correct clothes will definitely make your runs more comfortable.


  • Cotton is generally a no from me… collects water and gets heavy, leads to chafing, avoid!


  • Nylon and Polyster are considered to be the most breathable materials, I would agree with this. They are lighter and sweat wicking to avoid collecting too much water and getting heavy.



A general rule of thumb… if it’s chilly out but not quite freezing (most days in Britain) wear either a long top or bottoms, not both. It will avoid overheating. Most people tend to overdress because they underestimate how quickly you warm up when you begin running!


Running Jackets get very sweaty, if you really want to wear a jacket, I would just have a light t-shirt underneath and nothing that will hold sweat (long-sleeved etc). I personally prefer to use a tighter underlayer with a t-shirt on top!


If you have read this far, thanks! You are probably just skiving at work but still, I’ll take the compliment.

That’s a wrap with this blog though, hopefully you have taken from it that there is no need to invest heavily with kit when you are just starting out.



Luke winning Ceske Budejovice Half Marathon in Czech Republic 2018


Ayr racecourse launches first race meeting…without horses

Ayr Racecourse is breaking with 112 years of tradition to launch its first race meeting – without a horse.

The Ayr Classic Run means human runners of all abilities and ages can follow in the hoofprints of Red Rum.

With no jumps to navigate, the going is guaranteed be good as the road route follows a pathed circuit around the one-and-a-half-mile course.

Thousands are expected to sign up for the historic run when entries open today for the showpiece five-mile event, the 3k junior run and the family mile.

And with free admission for friends and family plus some great entertainment, there will be no shortage of noise and atmosphere to spur the runners on.

Ayr joins Cheltenham, Aintree and Newmarket as the latest racecourse to turn over its track to athletics.

World stars Eilish McColgan and Luke Traynor, who have signed up as ambassadors for the Classic Series, reckon iconic Ayr will pull in everyone from elite runners to absolute beginners.

Eilish, who won European 5000m silver last year, said: “This is a brilliant idea to get all the family involved in a new series of runs at exciting new venues. And I know some runners will be keen to be the first to do all four venues.”

Team GB athlete Luke, who has his sights set on marathon glory at Toyko 2020, added: “There is something special about running around such a historic sporting venue. It’s been done before on motor-racing circuits but this is a first for a race-course like Ayr.

“We spent time working out courses to accommodate all abilities and all ages.

“While the five-miler is the headline event, we expect a big entry for the junior and family races. “

David Brown, Ayr Racecourse Managing Director, said his team were gearing up for a big crowd to cheer on the runners on October 6. He said:

We are delighted to host the inaugural Ayr Classic 5 Mile Run which reinforces our reputation as a five-star venue.

“The Ayr Classic Run is a great opportunity for all runners, from beginners to elite, to relish the unique experience of running around an iconic course with their families cheering them on.

“We are already home to race classics such as The Coral Scottish Grand National and William Hill Ayr Gold Cup. The Ayr Classic Run is a wonderful addition.”

To enter:

The Ayr Classic Run is open to all – irrespective of age of ability. All you need to do is decide which of the four events best suits you:

The Ayr Classic 5 Mile Run.From elite athletes, club runners, fun runners, first timers to brisk walkers. Top cash prizes for the winners.

The Ayr Classic Junior Run.At 3k, specially designed for 9 to 15s..

The Ayr Classic Family Mile.For children aged three to eight accompanied by parent or guardian. Mums, dads, toddlers, grans and grandads all welcome for a Sunday jog, walk or toddle.

The Classic Corporate challenge.  You and your workmates can sign as a four-person team and compete against others for the Ayr Challenge Cup. Who will be the fastest company in Scotland?

Learn more about The Ayr Classic Run by visiting www.theclassicrunseries.co.uk

And if you are running for a great cause please drop us a line and tell us your inspirational story.


Traynor’s Thoughts – 5/2/2019

Traynor’s Tuesday Thoughts is a new bi-weekly blog in which Luke will present some topical thoughts on all things running.

As we are currently in the depths of winter, why not start with some advice on getting out in typical British weather.

I personally hate the British weather. If it wasn’t for leaves falling from the trees you’d be hard pushed to tell if it were November or June most days, at least that’s case north of the border. Being British means that I feel I am allowed to start this blog with an initial moan, before just getting on with it.

For me January was a month of hitting high mileage – around 90 to 100 miles per week – in order to build a base for my upcoming races in February and early March. That usually meant getting out the door twice a day, regardless of what the weather was doing.

Some tips for getting out in the cold!


  1. Start even slower

I like to get off to a slow start on most runs, like a proper shuffle/walk for the first few hundred metres until the muscles are warm enough to break into a jog.

If the weather is miserable outside do some quick exercises indoors to get the blood pumping round the body. You will feel more up for tackling the climate physically as well as mentally.


Suggested Exercises:

  • 10 x light star jumps


  • 6 x burpees


  • 10 x bodyweight squats

If you have a light exercise that you normally use then stick with that.

Proceed with the planned run, building up a little slower than normal. As with all things running it is important to be sensible and consider all external factors, accept that adverse weather will affect your pace and embrace it instead of fighting it.


2.)Get the anorak on? (What to wear)


Colder weather does not always mean more layers. In fact, often layering up just means more material to absorb the rain and so when you turn into the wind it will feel even chillier.

I think it’s good to stick to two upper layers in bad weather. Either go for a long sleeve with a t-shirt over the top or if it’s really coming down, a t-shirt with some sort of waterproof jacket.

The clothing material is important as well. Cotton/ wool being at the bottom of the pile for there absorption tendencies. Sweat wicking ‘technical’ fabrics are the best choices, they will hold the least moisture and allow rain to run off of your clothes slightly better than other materials.  

You don’t have to break the bank when it comes to what to wear, most supermarkets will have their own lines of exercise clothing that will use the same materials as the big brands

It can be appealing to layer up, especially if you have just rolled out of bed and trying to get out a morning run, next time try a couple of layers with some warm up exercises indoors instead!


3.) Shine Bright!

Seriously, the brighter the better, forget fashion if you are out running in the streets. All that really matters is that you are seen by vehicles on the road. My mum will probably call me out on being the biggest hypocrite out there with this tip, I’m trying to get better, but I’m not here to take my own advice.

The market is flooded with fancy head lamps and reflective jackets. Personally, I have started wearing a light up bright pink armband when out running in the dark. Leave as little to chance as possible is how you should think when purchasing exercise clothing.

Me, Luke Traynor. Classic Run Series Ambassador. 28.31 10km and 61.55 Half Marathon Runner.


Geoff has been kind enough to create a training plan for us which you can read about below:

5 Miles, here you come…

Congratulations if you have chosen the Ayr Classic Run as your first ever run. This event  promises to be memorable and accessible for newcomers. If you are keeping the faith with a New Year’s Resolution that you made, give yourself plenty of time to build up gradually, ideally at least a 70-day preparation. It’s worth the effort and this challenge isn’t something that you can cram for in the final week.

Get yourself some plausible running shoes and find yourself a running partner (dogs are keen but erratic sometimes) or a family member on a bike, if you can, and away we go.

Aim to get out 2-3 times per week, around your summer schedule, even if you begin with a mile or two of walking, just to get yourself rolling. Then increase it steadily, something like this:

Week One: two x one-mile walks
Week Two: three x one-mile run/walks
Week Three: two x one-mile run/walks and one two-mile run/walk
Week Four: three x two-mile run/walks
Week Five: two x two- mile runs and one three-mile run/walk
Week Six: three x three-mile runs
Week Seven: two x three-mile runs and one x four-mile run
Week Eight: two x four and one x five-mile run
Week Nine: three x five mile-runs
Week Ten: five-mile run, six mile run and your Classic Run

Don’t expect it all to go completely smoothly. If you are struggling to maintain running as you go through the mid-part of the schedule, then walk for a bit. If it was meant to be easy, everyone would be doing it. It’s a challenge. Persevere.

Two things to note – try your nearest parkrun somewhere around week five or six, just to give yourself an intermediate (5k) target. Also, with about 2-3 weeks to go, extend one of your runs to six or seven miles if you feel comfortable doing so. That way, you will reassure yourself that you are going to get around the Classic distance comfortably and the only question is ‘how fast?’ Good luck and enjoy it all. Even Week Three.


Partnership – Sense Scotland


Angela Graham, Events and Corporate Fundraiser at Sense Scotland – “We are delighted to be working in partnership with The Ayr Classic Run on Sunday 6th of Ocotber.  We are hoping and expecting that this will be a really appealing event for our supporters”.

Event Manager, The Classic Run – “It is great to work in partnerhsip with a charity who share our passion for health and well-being. We look forward to welcoming Sense Scotland to Ayr for a different kind of day at the races”

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