No Refund For You!

Race cancellations

Event cancellations are getting ridiculous.

It seems ironic that an obstacle race web site can clobber us over the head, over and over again, with just how “tough” the course is going to be and how much we are going to have to “dig deeper” than ever before to achieve the seemingly impossible. We must “challenge” ourselves like never before, and then…

Cancelled. The event gets abruptly cancelled due to rainy weather, or as of late, poison ivy and “swimmer’s itch”.

Seriously? Poison ivy? Swimmer’s itch?

Kind of difficult to even make this stuff up, and I’m not singling out any one race. Several races, including the big brand races, seem to be doing this more and more.

Where’s The Beef?

Swimmers itch in Illinois?

A quick Google search, filtered to information from the last week, revealed very little current news or information about a supposed swimmer’s itch outbreak anywhere in Illinois. Previous years? Sure, and that goes for a slew of other places across the United States – a very common issue in very common places – but a huge obstacle?

You be the judge.

Extreme poison ivy? Same. Nada.

Double Standards

I get it.

As an obstacle racer, it’s so easy to find yourself registering for races out of excitement and forgetting to look at the calendar first. We’ve all done it, and there’s nothing quite like that feeling of nausea when you stumble upon one of these conflicts after the register button has been clicked and your bank account a few duckets lighter.

In that case, cancellation is all on you. Typically, we don’t even let race directors know because there is a 0.0% chance of getting a refund, and rightfully so. We just bail on the event.

But, if the race cancels on us, this should be a different story. The race is not holding up its’ end of the contract, and athletes should have both options available to them – a refund or free entry into the rescheduled event.

More Cost Than Just Race Entry

For some athletes there are flights, rental cars, hotels, gear, and other related costs for race participation. While this is not something the race is responsible for compensating in any way, it’s certainly a significant point which should be considered when “pulling the plug.”

Out Of Our Control

When state or federal officials shut down a race for something like a forest fire, that can be defined as “out of our control” as there is no choice whatsoever for cancellation; but, in this writer’s opinion, a few complaints, when compared to overall entrant numbers, of irritants at a race venue is hardly a situation of emergency.

Let the runners decide.

Offer the information, and let racers vote with attendance.

The Ultimate Insult

Lastly, and again, this is the opinion of this writer (but I’m sure I’m not alone), the ultimate insult comes when the race, trying to actually capitalize on the rescheduling, encourages dissed participants to get their friends to register for the new date by offering a discount for new athletes who sign up for the new date.

Doesn’t that sit funny with anyone else?

Or am I truly, just the cranky bastard?


Cranky Bastard is a weekly editorial feature of Obstacle Racing Media, written by a member of the OCR community, to share personal thoughts, experiences and opinions regarding obstacle racing. Got an opinion? Let ’em have it.