The 11th annual No Name Race 5k Walk/Run is set to take place in Big Pine Key on Saturday, Jan. 15, and the event is benefiting the Domestic Abuse Shelter of Monroe County.

The 3.1-mile race, presented by the shelter and coordinated by the Key West Southernmost Runners Club, begins at 8 am.

The event is based at the Old Wooden Bridge Fish Camp on Big Pine Key, where walkers and runners start and end their trek. Race participants twice cross the No Name Key Bridge, a concrete span that replaced a wooden bridge decades ago.

According to DAS CEO Venita Garvin-Valdez, the race originated with the Lower Keys Business and Professional Women, an organization with several local chapters who are committed to enabling women to sustain themselves economically.

In 2009, DAS housed 250 women and children in their Middle and Lower Keys locations. Through the organization’s outreach offices – at MM 101 in Key Largo, St. Columba Episcopal Church in Marathon and 300 Southard Street in Key West – counselors helped 700 clients throughout Monroe County.

Believe we’ve been doing it since the beginning, gone through a couple of changes, with sponsors, back and forth.

Don Nelson of the Southernmost Runners Club is an avid runner near his home on Cudjoe Key as well as around Big Pine Key.

“Many of our races are in Key West, so the No Name Race, as well as the Blimp Road Race, provide a great opportunity to run in a rural atmosphere in the Keys,” Nelson offered. “Runners can see key deer and wildlife instead of houses and traffic.”

Nelson continued that the cool January temperatures and beautiful location of this course also offer a great opportunity to set personal records for local and visiting runners.

“It is a very fast course as it’s just an out and back with one turn.”

Randy Hendrick of R. Hendrick Construction, Inc. in Marathon is one of a host of committed community sponsors of this reputed race.

“I’ve seen first hand the hard work that the Domestic Abuse Shelter does throughout the Keys,” Hendrick said. “They work very hard for all the clients they serve.”

Awards await the top male and female finishers in age groups ranging from 9 and under to 70 and older. A post-race celebration with refreshments and prizes is planned.

Final registration and race packet pickup are scheduled from Friday, Jan. 14 from 4-6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 14, at TIB Bank at 2348 Overseas Highway in Marathon, Centennial Bank at 200 Wilder Road on Big Pine Key and Centennial Bank at 11290 Overseas Highway in Marathon.

Packets also can be picked up Saturday morning beginning at 6:30 a.m. at the race site.

Cost to enter is $20 per person in advance or $25 after Jan. 13. For entrants under age 15, registration is $10 per person.

The event is a fundraiser for the Domestic Abuse Shelter, whose mission is to reduce the incidence and impacts of domestic and sexual abuse by directing victims to appropriate programs and services.

Further details on this event that kicks off the 2011 racing season in the Keys can be found at: (click “Happenings”) or (305) 743-5452.

The 2010 No Name Race starting line. Photo courtesy Key West Southernmost Runners.



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