THE Isle of Wight Festival of Running has returned for its third year, with unprecedented numbers of athletes expected to descend on the West Wight this weekend.

Held at and organised by the West Wight Sports and Community Centre, Freshwater, more than 750 runners from not just the Island, but across the UK — and of all ages and experience — are expected to take part.

Tomorrow’s (Saturday) opening race will be the Freshwater 5K — an ideal race for runners who still enjoy a challenge, whatever their experience.

The Tapnell 10K, which will take runners on a circular route through fields past Afton Down, follows.

But the biggest draw of the weekend will be the gruelling Needles Half Marathon, on Sunday.

Runners will follow a spectacular trail along the coast, from Colwell Bay to Totland Bay, and over the heathland of Headon Warren, to The Needles, before traversing the rugged Tennyson Down and down to Freshwater Bay to the finish.

Younger runners can join the Junior Fun Run — a flat course around the fields adjoining the sports centre.

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