What do you do when a race gets CANCELLED?

Up until recently my racing over the years has been relatively 99% unaffected by delays, weather, or even cancellations.  It happens though, inevitably.  If not to me, than to you, or your friends.

I’ve been in races that were delayed 10 minutes, 20 minutes, even a half hour, due to logistics.  Either waiting on more runner filled buses to arrive at the starting line, or a train on the course, or traffic congestion on race morning.  Things happen.  We can all agree on that.  Sometimes the weather even plays a roll, although I have been incredibly lucky when it comes to even rain during a race.  I can count on one hand how many times it has rained/snowed during one of my races.  Snow in Asheville, rain in Hilton Head.  I haven’t been through a major disappointment like the folks that were signed up to run the New York City Marathon a few years ago when Hurricane Sandy forced cancellation altogether.  What do you do when a race cancels?

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My last marathon in Colorado had logistical issues.  Luckily I was a marathoner, and made it to the starting line with time to spare.  Others weren’t that lucky, and Half Marathoners got the shaft completely when the number of contracted buses for the event failed to show up, meaning 1,000’s were sent home when the Half was cancelled a mere hour before the event was to take place.  I would have been livid, if that were me.  All the travel related expenses I forked out to get there, and no race?  Wow!  But, it’s a risk we all take.  Who buys travel insurance anyway?

Just yesterday another race cancelled altogether.  The Greensboro Marathon scheduled for mid October cancelled due to low numbers of registrations.  They debated the thought of canceling for weeks, and finally had to cancel because the race would have cost more to put on than the fees being paid in to run it.  It’s very disappointing.  This particular race I was pacing, so it clearly wasn’t my “A Race” this Fall.  I guess knowing this far in advance, it gives those that were specifically training for this marathon the opportunity to find another race.

A race being cancelled can be heartbreaking though for anyone involved.  I felt horribly for all those runners that didn’t get to run the Rockies Half.  Again, things happen.  Both races I have referred to here in this post both offered full refunds for anyone registered, so kudos to them.  Sometimes this could put a race company out of business.  I’m surprised Revel Races could afford to refund 3,000 or so entries especially after everything race related was already paid for.  I hope they bounce back even stronger than before.  This is the same wish I have for the folks at Trivium Racing who not only put on the Greensboro Marathon, but other races in the area.  As runners we must forgive when event cancellations occur.  It may be tough at the time, but we must.

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So, question for the day.  Have you ever been involved in a race being cancelled?  What did you do?  Did you get a refund, or just have to suck it up?  Good races, and great race companies need to be forgiven and given another chance as far as I am concerned.  Anxious to hear your thoughts.

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8 thoughts on “What do you do when a race gets CANCELLED?

  1. I’ve never been in a race that was completely cancelled, but I would like to think that I would give them the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes the organizers, volunteers, or logistical teams truly have no control over the situation. While they may not be training for the event, they are still putting their heart and soul into all the prep . I would imagine it is just as heartbreaking for them, if not more so than for the runners. I say, go for your run that day anyways, give them a second chance, and if you get a rain check or refund, that’s a bonus.

  2. None of my races have ever been cancelled, fortunately. Like you I have been fairly lucky with weather too. I’ve run some crazy hot and crazy cold races where you just had to listen to your body. One it was over 100 and I think everyone at the start knew there would be no real “racing” occurring, but it went on.

    I hate to read that Greensboro got cancelled. That is a little early for a marathon in the South but at least people know and can find an alternate race, and possibly get refunds on travel arrangements. I actually *do* buy travel insurance but usually our travels are cruises and overseas so we feel safer with it. I wouldn’t buy it to travel within the US. Still it stinks for anyone who might not get a chance to run another race or had planned vacations that weekend that they can’t reschedule with work, etc.

  3. I would definitely give the race organizers another chance unless it was something they had a track record for doing. It’s a big deal to cancel a marathon since people have to sign up really early to begin training…or they should, in theory 🙂 Sorry to hear the race was cancelled though, but I guess they need to do what they need to do.

  4. I was one of the people who got a little screwed with NYC in 2013. I totally understood WHY it was canceled. It was the way they went about it that annoyed me. Like when the hurricane hit, they were all like “we are not cancelling the race!” My car was packed, and I was still going and they canceled on a Friday. Still understandable but it should have been canceled as soon as the crisis occurred. Don’t even get me started on the “options” they gave the runners to let them run the race. If I wanted to run it, I would have guaranteed entry to another year – but I had to pay the hefty $250 entry fee AGAIN. No thank you!

  5. This year’s Illinois Marathon was called after about 3 hours due to weather. Luckily, I was running the half and not the full this year. It rained hard during the half and ridiculously hard as I left. Cancellations are rough but I think it is worse to get 20 miles in and and get asked to get on a bus to the finish line. I felt bad for the marathoners who didn’t get to finish and in particular first timers.

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