Updated: Dec 31, 2019
Have you ever registered for a race, only to have it canceled a few days before the start or even the day of? Sometimes due to weather, other times due to permits. But how about a fake race that was never going to happen?
Well if this hasn’t happened to you yet, it might. Why? Because it happened to my mom. She was signed up to run a race in New Mexico under the race organization USRA Half Marathon Series and as she was boarding the plane she received this email.
“Greetings: Due to circumstances beyond our control, The Greater Albuquerque Half Marathon scheduled for this Sunday, July 13 has been rescheduled for a later date. You will have the option to transfer your registration to that race or any other USRA race. We apologize for any inconvenience.”
The options he provided were to defer to a later race in the USRA series or deal with the cancellation. If you defer, who is to say that the race will actually happen? After researching the company, I found that this is not the first time this race director has done this. He has "held" races in other cities around the country, which he either pulled the same stunt or held the race but lacked everything needed including water, police presence, and food. He also had the audacity to not pay the police or other bills owed to that city.
So how do you prevent this from happening to you? Here are my 3 steps to making sure the race you are signing up for will take place. 1. Make sure you really research the race you want to sign up for. Halfmarathons.net is a great website that provides you with a list of many different races around the country including the links to them. I search this website a lot to find my next race to do. Runners world also comes out with their most popular races list which I always look into.
2. Search out for reviews of the race on the blogosphere There are many blogs out there including my own where I write up reviews of the races I have done. I write them because like myself, I want to know the facts about the races I am looking into signing up for. I want to spend my hard earned money on a good race rather than one that doesn't include a medal and is not run well. So I created this blog with that intention in mind because I know that other future racegoers know what to expect from the race they are signing up for and are prepared in advance.
3. Check to see if the organization is legitimate. The most important thing to do even if you read a review of the race is to actually look at the race website and research it. If anything seems out of the ordinary and is not making sense, then I would just find another one. By not making sense I mean having only one day of packet pickup and only being available for a few hours. Most races have at least 2 days of packet pickup.
If the weather cancels a race or other dangerous situations cause a cancelation within a few days of the race or the day of, don't be angry because that is beyond your control. It happens more often than you would expect. At Ironman Lake Tahoe, they canceled that race as people stood at the start line because of the forest fires taking place in the area. Sometimes swims are the only part canceled as what happened at the Nations Triathlon in 2014 due to sewage runoff in the Potomac the night before the race.
Those circumstances you can't avoid, but you can avoid a scumbag who creates races then cancels them just to take your money. Be careful and be smart!