Aspiring young athletes from Bournemouth and the surrounding area are being urged to don their trackies and trainers for the Bournemouth Marathon Festival’s junior races – and to raise money for a host of children’s charities as well as using this as a great way to keep fit over the summer.
The Bournemouth Marathon Festival takes place over the weekend of October 4 and 5, starting on the Saturday with two mass participation races aimed specifically at younger runners aged 6 to 12 years old.
More than 600 youngsters from across the country competed in the junior races at the Bournemouth Marathon Festival in October last year. Pupils from 85 schools battled it out to win top spot in both a 3k and 1.5k races where Poole Grammar School scooped gold in the Bournemouth Marathon Festival junior schools competition.
Piers Copeland, 14, from Poole Grammar School and proud member of Wimborne AC finished first in the 3k race with an impressive time of 10 minutes and 20 seconds.
Piers said: "I really enjoyed the whole experience at the Bournemouth 3k last year, 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. The officials were friendly and supportive and showed us the right route.”
“I am planning to come back this year to do the 5k, it will be a great challenge to see how I get on along side all the other 5k runners from last year. I am really looking forward to running on this great course again in the autumn."
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. And as well as raising money for good causes, participants have a chance to win £150 worth of sports equipment for local schools.
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.
Every youngster who finishes will receive a medal, t-shirt and goody bag.
“Hundreds of youngsters have already signed up for the two events, eager to raise money for local charities,” says director Neil Kilgour, “so now is the time to visit the website and sign up for what promises to be a real festival of fun.”
Runners can raise money for any cause they choose, but the Bournemouth Marathon Festival website lists more than 150 charities including Macmillan Cancer Support and a number of children’s charities including The Children’s Trust, Hope for Children, the NSPCC, and Save the Children.
For the more ambitious youngsters, the Bournemouth Marathon Festival’s spectacular 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 those aged 15 and above. Entries are still open for the all the Bournemouth Marathon Festival races on October 4 and 5, 2014 but be aware that entries are coming in thick and fast for the 2k race so it is expected to close early if entry capacity is reached before the closing date.
Go to the event website for all entry details.