THOUSANDS of runners will be flocking to Poole Park this weekend for the town's annual festival of running event.

Poole Festival of Running, which attracts some big names from the world of competitive distance racing, is in its 38th year for 2019.

The two-day event, which has grown to become a favourite in the Dorset sports calendar, is organised by Poole Runners, with funds raised going to the Poole Hospital Charity.

On Saturday, from 2pm, the children's minithons take place – with the adults 5km race later that evening.

Then on Sunday, at 9am, the Poole Half Marathon and Poole 10km race gets underway.

A Poole Festival of Running spokesman said: "The 5k, 10k and half marathon take place on flat, fast and scenic parts of Poole including Poole Quay, Upton Country Park and the harbourside parks.

"The kids minithon races take place within the safety of Poole Park.

"With family entertainment, food stalls and live music, there’s a great festival atmosphere."

There will also be prizegiving and refreshment stands on site.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Poole Hospital Charity said: "Poole Hospital Charity is delighted to have been chosen once again as the nominated charity for Poole Festival of Running 2019.

"With one in two of us receiving a cancer diagnosis in our lifetime the cancer specialists at Poole Hospital have never been busier.

"Taking part in the 5K is your chance to help the hospital fight cancer."

Last year the festival raised more than £11,500 for cancer diagnostic and treatment equipment.

Poole Hospital Charity was also able to purchase a lateral arm attachment for the biopsy machine in the Dorset Breast Screening Unit, as well as the eight immobilisation devices for delivery of radiotherapy treatment.

The charity spokesman said: "This year your sponsorship money will be used to support our brachytherapy services as well as radiotherapy delivery and breast cancer detection.

"If your little one is taking part in any of the minithon races then this is their chance to help poorly children of Gully’s Place Trust Fund here at Poole Hospital."

Gully’s Place is a service wholly funded by charitable donations. It supports children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions.

The service extends to end of life care with a focus on making happy memories for the families as well as bereavement support.

All runners who raise at least £50 for Poole Hospital Charity will receive a complimentary charity t-shirt, while those raising more than £100 will receive an official Poole Hospital Charity running vest.