Runners on Ocean Parkway during the 2012 half marathon. Photo by Allan Shweky.

The Brooklyn Half Marathon is back and bigger than ever. New York 1 is reporting that the marathon has grown from 6,000 runners in 2011, to 15,000 last year, and now a staggering 20,000 runners signed up for this year’s event.

(See photos from last year’s half-marathon.)

The run, set for May 18, is now the country’s second largest half marathon. A half marathon’s total distance is 13.1 miles.

“Brooklyn’s big in every way, and it’s time for its half marathon to be that much bigger, too,” Mary Wittenberg, president of the New York Road Runners, told NY 1. “So we’re really excited.”

In attempting to account for the marathon’s growth in popularity, organizers claim that the switch of the running date last year from March to May played a big role. Although last year locals fumed about potential traffic snarls from the thousands of runners heading down Ocean Parkway, organizers say it’s worth it to have the finish line in Coney Island, which makes for a more exciting and picturesque finish for runners speeding along the boardwalk and will help local businesses.

On that note, event organizers are collaborating with local Coney Island businesses to make sure that the runners have incentive to stay and spend money in the area when the race ends.

Coney Island business owners and elected officials met with New York Road Runners to come up with strategies on how to keep the thousands of runners in Coney Island after the race. One way is to offer special deals on rides and food.

“You just don’t run home,” said City Councilman Domenic Recchia of Brooklyn. “You stay. You enjoy Coney Island. It’s up and running. We have great family activities. We have free events.”

The festivities will also feature extra security in light of the bombings that took place in Boston last month.

“We’ll have extra security,” Inspector Peter DeBlasio of the New York City Police Department’s 60th Precinct told NY 1. “Counterterrorism people will be deployed down here. Radiation pagers, dogs, things like that.”

If you want to join the race yourself, spots are still available. Registration ends on May 14. For more information, you can visit the New York Road Runners website by clicking here.

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