Runners beware: do your research before a "fun run"

By: Max Hess - Email
By: Max Hess - Email

Posted Thursday, July 24, 2014 -- 10:00 p.m.

Take a look outside on your typical summer day, and you won't have to search far for runners.

Pepe Rivera is a prime example.

"Listening to music like you're own meditation... thinking about what's going on in your life," he explains is what he uses the runs for.

Today he was running down John Nolen Drive -- for fun.

Fun is the key here.

"It's bogus," Pepe says, in reference to the recent cancellations of many "Fun Runs" around the country.

Kim Hazen with the Better Business Bureau says "people are upset" and "want their money back."

In some cases, the registration fees for the runs are as high as $95 -- and when runners want a refund, they're told there is a "strict no refund" policy.

Most recently it's been the "Dirty Girl" fun run, put on a by a Wisconsin company based in Delafield.

They shut down a run in West Virginia with only a few days notice.

Now the BBB has been flooded with complaints from people in West Virginia.

47 complaints came in this week alone, landing the "Dirty Girl" a sold "D+" rating by the BBB.

The blame isn't only on them.

Kim says they've seen similar problems with fun runs for years.

A 5K "Foam Fest" in Cleveland saw the same issue last week, and fun runs in Utah and California before that did too.

"If it's a run that's been happening for a long time, you can probably be pretty safe," Kim explained, but said she still has some recommendations:

-Use a credit card so transactions can be disputed
-Do your research on the race itself
-Check the local venues
-Keep receipts
-Check with the charity the run may be sponsoring
-Check the BBB website for the organization's legitimacy and rating

For people like Pepe, the case is clear.

"They shouldn't be doing that, they shouldn't be ruining people's days."

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