ASPIRING young athletes are being urged to don their trackies and trainers for the Bournemouth Marathon Festival’s junior races.

The two-day event takes place over the weekend of October 4 and 5, starting on Saturday with two races for younger runners aged six to 12 years old.

More than 600 youngsters from across the country competed last year. Pupils from 85 schools battled it out to win top spot in both a 3km and 1.5km races where Poole Grammar School scooped gold in the Bournemouth Marathon Festival junior schools competition.

Piers Copeland, 14, from Poole Grammar School, who finished first in the 3k race said: “It was fantastic to see everybody out cheering on all the competitors. The course was great when we got to run on the pier and along the beach side.”

Starting at 2pm, there is a 1.5K race for 6-8 year-olds, followed at 2.30pm by a 2K challenge for 9-12 year olds. This year, organisers are expecting more than 100 schools from across Bournemouth, Poole & Christchurch to take part in the races which are run in partnership with Active Dorset, County Sports & Physical Activity Partnership.

The winning school will receive £150 worth of sports equipment and every youngster who finishes will receive a medal, t-shirt and goody bag.

For more ambitious youngsters, the Speed of Light 5K, taking place at dusk on Saturday, October 4, is suitable for those aged 11 and over, while the Supersonic 10K is open to ages 15 and above.

The Supersonic 10K race sets off at 4pm while runners taking part in the Speed of Light 5K race starting at 7pm, will be issued with flashing LED armbands.

To enter, visit Entries close on September 25.