….not parts of my anatomy after 40 miles of trail running, but the acronym for the Riiver Ayr Way. A low key trail race from the source of the River Ayr in Glenbuck (deserted mining village, birthplace of football legend Bill Shankly and near Cairntable Hill) down to Ayr itself. It covers high moorland, a few miles on country lanes and lots of lovely tree-lined riverside paths. An early start was called for to make the bus in Ayr at 7.30 to take us up to the start. The chat was all about this ultra, that ultra and every other ultra as I nervously wondered if my longest run recently of 19 miles, together with my cycling, would be enough.
Forty or so of us set off on an old railway line and I took up position 2nd last with a nice and easy pace. The weather was set fine and I just told myself that it was just a wee(40 mile!) adventure out in the sunshine and lovely scenery. It was certainly a fine day, if a touch warm for September, but I hydrated well and never suffered. The scenery was great – the first 10 miles were open moorland and after that lovely riverside paths, woodlands galore, a gorge, farm tracks and a few tarmac miles.
I kept my (lonely) long distance shuffle going, drinking in the lovely views all around and gradually reeling in a few runners every now and again. In the last 10 miles I must have passed about a dozen runners and I then realised that I was going to make it and upped the pace a bit over the last few miles, feeling like I was flying (doubt I was though). I enjoyed a bouncing lap of the track at Ayr with a big smile on my face. I finished in 7h 38m, 27th of 40 runners, fastest of which was 5h 44m. I can definitely recommend this race, well organised by East Ayrshire Council, and no need to enter a year in advance like many fancy ultras. A great day out (honestly!) celebrated with beer & pizza and a nice hot bath later on. Grand!!