The third annual Set the Pace 5-Kilometer Road Race/Walk will be Saturday, Jan. 1 and runners may participate or “opt-out.” The event starts at 11:11 a.m. at the Smokestack Bar & Grille.

Preregistration is $15 for single runners, $25 for couples, $35 family for a family of three and $40 for a family of four. The race day cost is $18 for single runners, $30 for couples and $45 for families.

One can register on-line at: http://www.active.com/running/camden-me/set-the-pace-5k-camden-maine-2011 or send in your name, address with town and zip, phone number, age on race day, male or female, along with entry fee to: Reade Brower, c/o Free Press, 8 North Main Street #301, Rockland, ME 04841

For more information, e-mail Brower at reade@freepressonline.com

Midcoast runners Russell Wolfertz, Andrew Bonarrigo, Allison Leonard, Troy Peasley, Susan Craft, Mariah Lussier, Sandy Bodamer and Brower will host the event as part of their Nashville Country Music Marathon and Half-Marathon fundraising commitment.

These eight runners have pledged to raise more than $20,000 collectively to provide assistance to the Little Field Home; an African orphanage organization run by Janet Littlefield, a Union native.

“There is a lot to like about this race; our aim is to make it special and you’ll want to be part of what is becoming an annual tradition,” said Brower.

Brower said the start time of 11:11 a.m. “suggests that we are flexible, that we understand that the night before might be a late one, and that the possibility of a cold forecast might make an 8 a.m. start unattractive. For those 109 brave runners and walkers at the first Set the Pace, they still talk about conditions that were so Artic in nature the timing equipment froze.”

Brower said the event is “one of a kind” because, “while we will announce and acknowledge some traditional age brackets in our awards ceremony, each person will receive recognition that lets the world know that they have set their personal record for 2011 at the ‘Set the Pace 5K.’ We guarantee it. Additionally, all age division winners will hold the ‘fastest 5K in Maine 2011’ title for multiple weeks since there are no other 5K races that we know of planned in the state of Maine until the Love Me 5K which takes place in mid-February.”

Brower said the first-place male and female finishers will be crowned and will hold the “fastest runner in Maine 2011” titles until dethroned. The event also honors the middle-of-the-pack man or woman.

Some races have “best dressed” awards, “we’re thinking of the ‘less dressed’ awarded to the male and female runners with the least clothing on. We hope someone will try to top first-year winner Ron Haney’s first baby attire; it was complete with diaper,” Brower said.

For the serious-minded runner, the race course winds through Camden neighborhoods and starts with a gentle climb up Pearl Street, ending with a one-mil  downhill finish on Mechanic Street.

Th event also includes an “opt-out” runner’s special; “this is where you’ll get a race number for the raffle but you don’t have to run. It will cost you the entry fee, but remember, you don’t have to run; you can pick a proxy runner and you’ll be listed right below your proxy runner with their time — a real chance to get a PR,” Brower said.

Walkers, pregnant women, those with strollers, children, families and “well-behaved dogs” are encouraged to start the new year out by participating in the 3.1-mile event, Brower said.

Team Littlefield

Runners are invited to join the Team Little Field Home Runners program. The team is still accepting runners and looking for a few more good men and woman to join the Nashville Marathon Warriors for World Peace team. “We’ll sign you up for the full or half-marathon and we begin training as a team in January; we’ll have you ready by the April 30 running date, guaranteed,” Brower said.

For the past two years, 21 Team Little Field Home runners have finished the Death Valley Marathon and 30K and the Mardi Gras Marathon and Half-Marathon. These runners have raised more than $60,000 for the children of Little Field Home Orphanage.

“Our goal this year is to raise more than $40,000 as the program expands to a new village with 100 new children; $40,000 will build the dorms and common building needed for us to get started,” Brower said. “We are breaking ground in March of 2011 with this expansion and the continuing mission of helping one orphan at a time while creating a self-sustaining community in which they live.”

Past runners have included first-time marathoners whose goal was to “get me over the finish line” and experienced marathoners who wanted to mentor the new marathoners and perhaps qualify for the Boston Marathon, run a personal best or have a goal time in mind.

The group’s youngest marathoner was age 18, the oldest 62. “It is about participation and about being part of something bigger than yourself,” Brower said.

Contact Brower for more information.

VillageSoup sports staff can be reached by phone at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at sports@villagesoup.com.