The Fenway 5.

"Hey, it sounds fast," said race director Dave McGillivray with a laugh.

The first annual event, set for next Sunday at 11 a.m., carries a distinguished pedigree. It began as the Boston Milk Run and lasted 10 years. It next became the Back Bay 10 K for one year before its metamorphosis to the Alamo 5-Miler for two years before that sponsor opted to focus its efforts elsewhere.

Thus, the Fenway 5,000 represents the fourth name change and third different course distance. About the only item that has remained constant is the start and finish point along Avenue Louis Pasteur.

"Whatever works. You have to adjust to the time," said McGillivray. "I was real close to not doing it because it's expensive to produce events in Boston. I wrote to Saucony and they indicated they wanted to get back involved with sponsorship in a Boston event."

Saucony was a longtime sponsor of the late, lamented Boston Freedom Trail, another Boston road race fixture.

Because the Fenway 5 does not offer prize money and because the shorter distance is not conducive to marathon preparation, the Fenway field is a bit unsettled.

Local heroes Jim Garcia of Westford, Eric Morse of Moretown, Vt., and Chris Bianchi of Hopedale are among early entrants. The best of the foreign contingent appear to be Tom Buckner of Great Britain and Paul Smith of New Zealand. Alice Callahan of Belmont heads the women's field.

"I just figured that by cutting it to 5K, perhaps, we'd get more participants. More people can run 5K than 10K. If you lose a year it's always more difficult in bringing an event back. We'll see how it goes," McGillivray said of the 11th-hour decision to keep it alive. "We'll give it our best attempt."