An expanded Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon will return to Portland on Saturday, complete with a revamped 5-kilometer race.

With 3,500 runners registered in the half marathon and 1,500 in the 5K, this year’s race is poised to be the largest in the event’s nine-year history.

The annual event has quickly become one of the most popular road races in Maine, trailing only the TD Beach to Beacon 10K in size. Race director Erik Boucher said 70 percent of the race’s participants typically travel from out of state.

This year, registrants could again choose between the half marathon and 5K races. In 2018, course organizers chose not to include the 5K while they debuted a new half marathon course.

“With the help of the city, we made modifications to the course and that allowed us to add the 5K event,” Boucher said.

Organizers designed the 5K course to take runners along as much of the half marathon course as possible, in part to limit street closures, Boucher said.

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Both the half marathon and 5K will begin at Fore and Union streets before heading southeast on Danforth Street. The courses diverge at the 1-mile mark, with the half marathon course zig-zagging north through the residential neighborhoods of the West End, while 5K participants will continue along the Fore River Parkway Trail before doubling back for a 1.5-mile stretch along the wharves on West Commercial Street.

After heading east along the same portion of West Commercial Street, half-marathoners will make a 4-mile, counterclockwise loop around the Back Cove before hitting the home stretch along Eastern Promenade and Fore Street. Both races will finish on Fore Street, a block east of the start line.

Last year’s top women’s finisher – Meg Brockett, 25, of Hampton, New Hampshire (1 hour, 20 minutes, 6 seconds) – will be back again on Saturday. Jesse Orach of Auburn, 23, who won last year’s race in 1:10.43, is opting for the 5K on Saturday.

Participants’ registration packets will include vouchers for food, beer and other local merchandise, which can be redeemed during the race’s after party at the Sodexo Food & Beer Garden at 1 Portland Square. For this first time this year, the registration package will also include a commemorative tank top.

The half marathon begins at 7 a.m. Saturday. The 5K will follow at 7:15.

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