The weekly Back Cove 5K series in Portland embarks on its 10th season this year, and the event will see a few changes necessitated by its steady growth and popularity.

For one, the former freebie series will cost $20 — but that’s a one-time fee that covers the entire series (all the money goes to Portland Trails). Also, registration will no longer take place on-site at the Back Cove parking lot, but will be entirely online. Upon registration, participants will have to check in each week beginning at 8 a.m. Sundays and ending at 2 p.m. Wednesday for each race at 6 p.m Wednesday. Registration begins early next week at www.backcove.runtowin.com. Number pickup will still be at the start.

The other important change is that each race will be capped at 250 entries, for safety reasons and because of city requirements. “It shouldn’t be a big issue; I think we may have gone over that number two or three times last year,” said John Rogers of event co-sponsor Maine Running Company.

“Also for safety reasons, we’ll have a lead biker for each race,” Rogers said. “The Grand Prix rules, with shoes as prizes for winners, will be the same. At each race we’ll give away 10 tech T-shirts at random, five for women and five for men.”

The 15-week series begins May 30. There will be no race on July 4.

“I understand that some people may not like having to pay, but while the all-volunteer race has grown more than I ever expected, donations have kept going down,” Rogers said. “The fee is low — that’s $1.33 per race, if you do all 15. It’s important that we raise money in support of Portland Trails and what it does for Back Cove, which I call the center of Greater Portland’s fitness community.

Last season, as race director Stu Palmer noted, the event drew 1,421 individual entrants and 3,587 total finishers. Grand prix winners were Rob Gomez of Saco and Christine Irish of North Yarmouth, and the community spirit award winner was David Colby Young of Danville. They each received four pairs of running shoes as prizes.

THE RUN FOR The Fallen Maine has 15 TD Beach to Beacon 10K bibs available for the race in Cape Elizabeth on Saturday, Aug. 4.

To snag a bib, you must raise a minimum of $300, using the Crowdrise online fundraising site; run in honor of one of Maine’s fallen heroes, who will be assigned unless one is requested; be available for a prerace group photo on race day; and be in contact with the family of the soldier selected. You will receive (and must wear) a Nike Dri-fit shirt depicting the soldier in whose honor you are running.

To register, visit the website, www.runforthefallen.org. Also, registration for the 2012 Run for the Fallen Maine, to be held on Saturday, Aug. 19, has opened. The run travels from Ogunquit to Ocean Gateway on the Portland waterfront, but the distance run is totally up to the individual.

“Join in whether you want to run 2 miles or 20,” said organizer/president John Mixon. “It’s not about running so much as about showing families that we have not forgotten their kids.”

The Marine Corps Silent Drill Team, which has never visited Maine, will perform a demonstration at Ocean Gate. This year’s event, its fifth, will be the last RFTF for Maine, Mixon said. The plan is for the organization to continue — awarding scholarships, and establishing a permanent memorial in southern Maine.

Mixon spoke just before leaving for the Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon in Fredricksburg, Va. Last year he met comedian Drew Carey, who ran his first half in 1:58:20. The two have a bet for this year, with the slower guy having to buy dinner.

RACING IN BAR HARBOR is always a pleasure, and here for your consideration comes the MDI YMCA Spring 10K at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 9. The wheel-measured course begins near the Y on Park Street, does a first-half out-and-back on Route 3 out past the Jackson Lab, and returns to town and a second half that includes the wicked downhill at the end of the MDI half-marathon (except this time you run up it), and about a mile on the park loop road.

The race benefits the Y’s scholarship program, and the fee is $20 before June 1 or $25 thereafter, with all preregistered runners guaranteed a shirt. Walkers are welcome. Pickup begins at 8 a.m. on race day. Course records belong to Phil Richert (32:13) and Elizabeth Brunton (38:04).

The mile fun run begins at 9:15, costs $7/$10, and the maximum age allowed is 15. For more information, contact Lisa Tweedie at [email protected] Tweedie, by the way, is running her first marathon today, at Sugarloaf.

THE RACE TO REMEMBER 5K at the waterfront in Gardiner is scheduled for 8 a.m. on Memorial Day.

The course is along the Kennebec River Rail Trail; registration begins at 7 a.m.; the fee is just $15, with T-shirts for all who preregister. The race benefits the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Gardiner. Last year’s winners were Seth Hasty, 31, in 17:44 and Jessica Viselli, 35, in 21:35. Contact Orm Irish (671-0675, [email protected]) or Mark Johnston (623-3334, [email protected]) for more info.

John Rolfe of Portland is a staff writer and a road runner. He can be reached at 791-6429 or at:

[email protected]