The Blue Nose Marathon is expected to be bigger and better than ever — and that’s nothing new.

As of Thursday afternoon, a record 8,338 had already registered for the annual event in Halifax and Dartmouth, giving it a sixth straight participation increase since the inaugural run in 2004.

Registrants for Sunday’s events — the five- and 10-kilometre runs and the half and full marathons — have hit 5,957, while 2,431 have signed up for Saturday’s youth run.

The organizing committee expects to hit its goal of 9,000 for the first time.

“We’re kind of excited,” said event co-chair Rod McCulloch. “Every year we’ve had an increase, but we’ve always been a little short of where we thought we were going to be. This year, we’re a little bit over. The message is getting out. People are having fun.”

This year’s race route is not much different than last year’s. The start/finish line is on Brunswick Street adjacent to the Town Clock and the full marathon does a loop in Halifax before crossing over to Dartmouth.

McCulloch said very few adjustments were necessary on the route, which was changed last year because of a slew of nightmarish problems in 2008.

Brunswick Street will be closed downtown for most of the day, while there will be limited access to side streets along the race route. The Macdonald Bridge will be closed Sunday morning.

The weather — which always seems to be touchy on race day — is looking like it will co-operate, with a mix of sun and cloud and a high of 22 C on the long-term forecast.

“The weather’s going to be great,” McCulloch said. “Everything’s under control and we’re ready to rock.”

Marathon growth

• 2004 — 3,500
•?2005 — 5,200
•?2006 — 6,300
•?2007 — 7,000
•?2008 — 7,800
•?2009 — 8,073
•?2010 — 8,338 (as of Thursday afternoon)

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