Open Letter: Run or Dye

Since Run or Dye announced Daytona Beach as a venue, I white-knuckled the edge of my seat with anticipation. The countdown until registration day. Sitting on the computer, eagerly awaiting race registration to go live. Seeing the weeks peel away to my my first ever color race. Learning I was one of the first 100 to register, thus scoring some neat swag. I was stoked. Completely and unequivocally stoked. Until about a week ago.

In between one of my most hectic weeks of my summer flying schedule, I received the following email which promptly crushed my first race since the spring time.

Hi Karen,

We have a very important update for you. Run or Dye Daytona Beach is now being combined with our Haines City event on October 11. We’re disappointed that we need to make this change, but we haven’t generated the number of participants in Daytona Beach that we need to make the event viable. Run or Dye is an expensive event to produce. If we don’t have enough participants, it makes it impossible for us to pay for things like venue rental, travel for our staff, clean-up, etc. We are very sorry for the disappointment this announcement may cause.

Although no refunds will be given, we have created an online portal where you can choose from a number of option.

1) Two tickets to Run or Dye Haines City (or any other Run or Dye event) for each ticket you purchased. ($80 Value)

2) One ticket to another Run or Dye event and a $25 credit to our online store for each ticket you purchased ($65 Value)

3) Get your Run or Dye swag mailed to you and we will make a donation to our non-profit partner on behalf of your ticket (choose this option if you would prefer not to transfer your ticket)

We have created an online portal where you can make your selection; visit it here.

Make Your Selection

We wanted to give you another heads up. If you can’t make Haines City work on October 11, we have a couple of other events near you that might work:

Athens, GA on 08/23/2014
Macon, GA on 09/20/2014

And don’t forget, by choosing to transfer, you can either take a friend or loved one with you, or attend two events yourself (for example, come to Haines City AND Athens, GA). The choice is yours!

We understand that this likely creates a hassle for you, and may even mean a long drive, so in an effort to compensate you for these frustrating issues, we hope that these options help you feel that you are getting something from Run or Dye in return. Run or Dye is working to get better at everything, from delivering our amazing events, to understanding how to more effectively reach our audience. It has been an ongoing challenge this year, but we feel this course of action is a far better alternative than cancelling the event outright.

We apologize again for the frustration and concern and hope to see you at a Run or Dye event soon.

For a more colorful world,
The crew at Run or Dye

I sat there.

I read it over.
I shook my head.
I read it again.

There was absolutely no disappointment. Simply anger. It has taken me close to a week to process exactly what happened, and more importantly formulate a response. The word selection was at times challenging, as writing a letter of dissatisfaction is never easy. While I could lace it with flowery language (or it’s inverse), I feel compelled to be completely honest in how I feel.

Dear Run or Dye,

I am officially calling shenanigans on your recent e-mail to all the registrants of the Daytona Beach event on September 9th. I heartily disagree with your decision to not only cancel the race due to low registration numbers, but the decision to combine it with the race scheduled in Haines City. I have been very excited to represent the greater Daytona Beach area, and I even wound up being one of the first 100 to register for this event. I registered for this event explicitly because it was closer to my home than Orlando.

Your event’s inability to generate the registration numbers or the corporate sponsors necessary to make the race viable is not the fault of the runners. The e-mail I received obliterated my enthusiasm for the race series and your brand entirely. It was written in what you may perceive as a positive approach, but I found it to be disagreeable. Personally, I feel like “viable” seems like a buzz word in lieu of “profitable,” and the financial bottom line seems the be the crux of the issue. While the event is “expensive to produce,” I feel that should not be the concern of the runners. This should have been a consideration of your production, and should not fall onto the registrants. I’d like to take a moment to dissect your updated offer, and present my conundrum as a result of this unfortunate situation.

1. Alternate Race Dates
When I registered for the race, it was primarily due to the fact that it was during my paid vacation. I would be home. I could roll out of bed, run the race, hit the shower and go about the rest of my vacation with as little effort as possible. It has been inked into my calendar for months. While you tout additional race dates, none of those coincide with my vacation schedule and are therefore inconvenient. My scheduled time off is not August 23rd (Athens, GA), September 20th (Macon, GA), or October 11th (Haines City). You offer up Athens, GA with just over a week prior as a viable option? Sorry, I have work. I find it ridiculous that you think I can drop everything I have to make this an acceptable alternate. See point number two for further details.

Unlike most participants, I do not have a traditional Nine-to-Five job. I have to work out an entire month a month or several months in advance, and I simply cannot move my schedule around to accommodate your fantastic idea to cut costs and save money. I work weekends, so I can’t magic up extra time off for this race. I do not want alternate dates. I wanted the race I registered for on the date announced. Barring a hurricane or national disaster, I should not be forced to drive nearly two hours for a race I don’t want. Even the New York City Marathon refunded race registrations when they could not hold their event. Why should you be any different?

2. Alternate Race Locations
I would like to you take a moment and open up Google Maps, Apple Maps, MapQuest, what have you and calculate the proximity of Haines City, Macon, and Athens in relation to Daytona Beach. No, take your time. Make some coffee. I’ll wait. Oh, you’re busy? Here you go:

  • Haines City, FL: one hour forty-three minutes (92 miles)
  • Macon, GA: five hours nineteen minutes (357 miles)
  • Athens, GA: seven hours one minute (429 miles)

The distance from my house to Daytona Beach is fifteen miles, and it can be a twenty-five minute drive on a bad day. This doesn’t just create a hassle. It generates a massive hassle. Why would I want to drive to these locations for a 5K that is not only inconvenient, but substantially further than what I initially prepared for? Are you going to pay my gas and tolls, arrange off time, prepare hotel accommodations and battle highway traffic for me? I do not need a magic eight ball to know that the answer is sincerely and most definitely no.

When I registered for Daytona Beach, I never imagined it would be “combined” Haines City, or kindly offered the opportunity to drive myself across the Florida Georgia Line to Athens or Macon. By offering me these other racing options, you would actually be costing me far more money in travel and accommodation expenses as none offered are a short drive. You are not doing me any favors by offering me additional race registrations at inconvenient locations. I passed up on other race registration opportunities so I could attend your event and help establish Run or Dye in Central Florida. So, these “don’t work for me.”

3. Non-Profit Partner

If you are taking the time and energy to inform me that I can donate my race registration, then you should most certainly tell me which charity I am helping to benefit. Why is this option the third one presented when it is by far the most convenient and worthwhile of the three? Many of us run for those who cannot, and more importantly, we fund raise for those who need the money. Run or Dye is not a charity, so how is it that in what feels like a blanket form letter, the Non-Profit Partner isn’t even mentioned? Are they local? Are they across the state? Country? World? Who exactly am I helping because at the moment because the e-mail I received had a large, colorful Run or Dye logo, but didn’t even have a single logo for the NPP. I shouldn’t have to go to the Decision Portal– which interestingly enough– came with it’s own purple button smack dab in the middle of my e-mail. Yet, still no NPP logo… Hmm…

If you are donating the race registration cost, it better be every last cent I paid without any transaction fees subtracted. Yes, I am aware that it was only $25 as opposed to the $65 most paid as I was a VIP Registrant, but every last dollar should not be kept by RoD. As for the swag I was promised, give my socks to someone in need. No, not another runner in the queue, but someone in need of a pair of knee high socks to help keep them warm.

“Might work” is not an acceptable consolation. I should not have to rearrange my schedule to accommodate your inability to generate funds necessary to hold the event. If Daytona is no longer a venue option, then why should those wanting to run in Daytona be forced to help foot the bill for those running in Haines City simply because you want to pool resources? Canceling the event would mean that you would have an obligation to issue refunds to participants, so if anything it is a far better course of action for your company, not the runners.

RoD, I hate to break this to you, but all of the alternative plans presented are not only a hassle, but insulting. My choice was and continues to be Daytona Beach, and if you cannot guarantee that option, I refuse to settle for three cities, all of which are not choices of mine. I find your inability to honor the 700 who supported you and provide an option #4: Complete refund of race fees.

I have no intention of registering for another RoD or related event. I do not want a merchandise credit for your online shop, and I find the prospect of a shopping credit as absolutely ludicrous. I have no need for merchandise for a race I will not run. I don’t want to put my friends in a position where they would need to spend additional money to attend an event that is no longer local. If I wanted to run Haines City, Athens, or Macon, I would have registered for those races respectively.

I will continue to support race series like Best Damn Race, runDisney, and Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon as well as my local running events in Daytona Beach, but I can guarantee that I will not register for an event or support an organization that does not take care of its runners. Heck, local races in Daytona Area are now offering to do what you simply couldn’t: offering free registrations to those whom you have turned your back on. They shouldn’t have to do it, but they genuinely care about the running community. I will make the time to not only attend one of these races, but bring friends, family, and most importantly additional funds for their charities.

Of the three options you have so generously and magnanimously provided me, the only option you leave me is #3. I don’t want to Run or Dye. I do not want to rope my friends or family into supporting your event. So, I’ll go and support the mystery Non-Profit. If you feel the need to contact me, please send an e-mail or call, but make sure the individual selected to discuss this situation is fully prepared to speak with an exceptionally dissatisfied customer. If be some magical change of heart you opt to refund race registrations, I will in turn donate it to a charity of my choosing as I have many friends fund-racing and there are plenty of non-profits in the greater Daytona area who need it.

Sincerely,

Karen

Further reading:
Questions surround Run or Dye cancelation in Daytona Beach (News 13 Orlando)
Runners May Receive Refund (ClickOrlando/WKMB Local 8)
RoD Cancelled Race and Took $20,000 From Runners (The Anti-Jared)

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5 comments

  1. Pingback: Weekend Update | Read Run Write with Kahrenheit
  2. Run or Dye Scam · September 12, 2014

    Yes! Thanks for this article. Run or dye is a scam by well known con artist jake Ackerman

    Like

    • Karen P. · September 12, 2014

      It breaks my heart that this is happening. The running community is supposed to be a fun, safe place and things like this damage it for everyone. Thanks for dropping by. Feel free to share my post if you like!

      Like

  3. Abbey · November 15, 2014

    Hi, your reply to RoD’s cancellation is exactly what so many have felt. There is an exorbitant amount of people who have been scammed by run or dye Please join in our fight against these crooks by liking and sharing the Facebook page “Run or Dye Warning & Facts” and join the “run or dye scam” group as well.

    Like

  4. Pingback: 2014 Rear View | Read Run Write with Kahrenheit

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