IT'S the run everyone has been waiting for. Go! Festival Ayr officially launched last week, bringing Ayrshire's first ever professionally measured half-marathon to the town.

Unlike previous races, this event on September 7, is Scottish Athletics registered and is chip timed meaning runners will know their exact time down to the millisecond. And on the closed roads, the distance has been accurately marked out. The festival also includes a 10k run and a family cycle.

Runners will circle most of Ayr’s main landmarks. starting just before St John’s Tower and Citadel, passing by the county buildings and all along to Burns’ Cottage, Brig O’ Doon and Greenan Castle. Runners will then make their way back along the coastal front to finish where they were flagged off. The whole route is flat to appeal to runners of all ages and abilities from all over the UK.

The festival will have a funfair atmosphere where spectators can turn out to cheer home the runners and cyclists in the evening light with the half-marathon starting at 5pm. The winners will receive their medals in front of a large audience and then there will be a spectacular two aircraft night air display concluded with a firework finale.

Doug Maclean from the Scottish International Airshow has been one of the event's organisers. He said: "We took a deliberate decision to try make this something different so it's not just a sports event. We wanted to make it all inclusive and a family event which is why we have the family cycle as well.

"The timing of it was critical to us. Our idea was to make it an event where people can spend the day in Ayr so starting in the afternoon and then being able to enjoy a whole night here.

"Over 200 people signed up in the first week so we know how popular it is already."

One of the talking points of Ayr's half-marathon is the distance and what makes it different to similar runs in the past. Professional long distance runner John Lloyd from Cannonball Events said: "It's a one-off opportunity to ride on the roads like this without any traffic. We've had entries from York, Belfast and further afield. 60 per cent of the entries have came from outwith Ayrshire.

"It's an accurately measured course. The person who measured has experience measuring the London Marathon which is a huge difference because a lot of other marathons or half-marathons in the country have been measured short in the past so it's a quite a big thing.

"Previous races in Ayrshire would have been measured but not under this much scrutiny and under the new technology."

All information and registration for the Go! Festival Ayr can be found at