Before more than 39,000 runners set off to tackle the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday 23 April, the stars of the future will be taking to the capital and following in the footsteps of Mo Farah at the Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon.

The three-mile race will see runners aged from 11 to 17 compete on a course that takes in one of the London Marathon’s most famous stretches before they run across the iconic Finish Line on The Mall, cheered on by the capital’s world-famous crowds.

Farah is one of a number of the world’s most talented athletes to win the Mini London Marathon in the past. David Weir, Hannah Cockroft and Non Stanford have all won the race too, making it the place to see the future of British athletics.

History of the race

Launched in 1986, the Mini London Marathon has been run alongside the London Marathon every year since. Once open only to runners based in London, now young athletes from regions and counties across the country are also able to compete.

The race has also doubled up as the official British Athletics three-mile road championships since 2011, with the course having been extended from 2.6 miles to three miles in 2008.

Prior to his success in Rio last summer, Olympic gold medal gymnast Max Whitlock set the runners on their way from the Start Line in 2016, and in previous years Jonny Wilkinson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sir Steve Redgrave and Denise Lewis have been among the sports stars to have started the race.

And if that wasn’t exciting enough for the young runners, the winner of each race was awarded their trophy by Prince Harry in 2016.

The competitors

The majority of athletes who take part in the Mini London Marathon are selected to represent their borough, region or home nation following trials which are held over the winter months.

Every London borough, region and home nation has a team manager who selects the team to race the Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon.

Teams of 36 runners are created from each London borough and region. They consist of six runners for each of the race categories, which are as follows: under 13 boys and girls; under 15 boys and girls; and under 17 boys and girls.There are also wheelchair races for boys and girls in under 14 and under 17 age categories, and races for para and ambulant athletes.

2016 highlights

Kare Adenegan continued her dominance in the wheelchair races at the 2016 Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon, winning the under 17 race – her third victory in a row – before finishing second to Hannah Cockroft and winning a silver medal in the T34 100m at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Eden Rainbow-Cooper took second place in 15:08 – almost one-and-a-half minutes behind Adenegan’s time of 13:40.

A course record also fell at the Mini London Marathon as Josh Cowperthwaite, representing the North East, won the under 15 boys’ race in 14:48, taking six seconds off the previous record. The South East’s Lachlan Wellington and London’s Joseph Owen finished in second and third respectively.

Super six

The under 17 girls’ race was won by Greenwich’s Sabrina Sinha in a time of 16:23. She was the fastest London runner in her age category for the sixth consecutive year and went on to win 1500m silver for Great Britain at the 2016 European Youth Championships in Tblisi. Representing the South East, Lucy Pygott finished second in 16:29, with Scotland’s Laura Stark four seconds behind in third.

Thomas Mortimer took first place in 14:14 in the under 17 boys’ race for the South West, just one second ahead of Wales’s Jake Heyward, with James Edgar from Northern Ireland finishing third with a time of 14:20.

Close call

In a close under 15 girls’ race, Faye Ireland from the North West claimed the victory with a sub 17-minute time of 16:57, edging out the South East’s Claudia Lance-Jones and Grace Brock of Cornwall in the South West region.

Ossian Perrin of Wales beat Surrey’s Harley Norman to first place in the under 13 boys’ race by two seconds, with Angus Williams from the South East finishing third.

The under 13 girls’ race was won comfortably by Amelia Kane from Northern Ireland in 17:23 ahead of Eve Jones from Yorkshire and Humberside and London’s Morgan Squibb.

Stellar field

Three previous winners of the under 14 boys’ wheelchair race lined up on the Start Line for the under 17 race, and it was 2014 victor Jack Agnew who crossed the world famous Finish Line on The Mall in first place, ahead of Isaac Towers and Michael McCabe in the first competition of the day.

The 2016 under 14 boys’ race saw Zien Zhou and Andrew Greer tied for first with a time of 17:46, with Morgan Woods behind them in 19:28. Shauna Bocquet, the girls’ winner at under 14 level, won in 15:20, beating runner-up Courtney-Lea Daly by an impressive margin of more than five minutes. Murran Mackay placed third in 22:48.

Don't miss it!

If you have friends or family coming to watch you run the Virgin Money London Marathon on 23 April, tell them to join the crowds early and get a glimpse of the best young talent in British athletics. See the panel on the left for age-group start times.

For more information on the 2017 Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon, visit minimarathon.co.uk.