5K Foam Fest cancels local race amid bankruptcy

5K Foam Fest cancels local race amid bankruptcy
A photo from a past event in Detroit. (Source: 5k Foam Fest Facebook Page)
A photo from a past event in Detroit. (Source: 5k Foam Fest Facebook Page)

A "5K Foam Fest" event scheduled for July 19 at the Southington Offroad Park in Garrettsville, OH was canceled abruptly by its organizer. Participants tell the Better Business Bureau they paid advance registration fees to Round House Racing Team ranging from $45 - $75 and cannot get refunds. 

Foam runs are kind of like bubble baths with obstacles along the way. Races are held across the country and this weekend many were looking forward to the one in Garrettsville.

"When I first found out it was cancelled I was really sad.  My friends and I had been planning for quite some time to do this and we were excited about it.  But that sadness turned into anger when I realized they probably were not going to give me my money back," said Michelle Rhoads.

(WOIO) - On Tuesday, local registrants received an e-mail with this message:

Hello Foamsters,

Due to some unexpected, last-minute logistical issues, we've had to postpone our 5K Foam Fest So Cal Event. We're working diligently to reschedule and possibly move the event but we don't have any details at this time. Unfortunately, we're not able to provide you with a refund. We know that you've spent time and energy preparing for your event, so we will be in touch as we look to reschedule.

Please continue to check your email for updates and we'll get you the latest information as we have it. We sincerely apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate you understanding.

Thank you,

The Round House Racing Team

There was a similar announcement posted on its Facebook page.

Round House Racing Team is based in Utah and has a "C+" rating with the BBB. It conducts events across the country. According to the BBB, calls to the company's business line reach a recording that the mailbox is full. Its website states that Foam Fest does not issue refunds or partial refunds regardless of circumstances.

Another event scheduled for July 19 in California has also been canceled. It appears local registrants received the same e-mail sent to the So Cal event participants.

The BBB spoke to a representative of the Southington Offroad Park who scheduled the 5K Foam Fest with Round House. Southington was also taken by surprise when they received an e-mail on July 14 from Round House canceling the event due to "logistical issues" and low participation. Southington, who incurred expenses to arrange food for the event, told the BBB that they have had no discussions with Round House about rescheduling.

A Streetsboro woman who signed up last week to participate in the race with her friends told the BBB, "I don't think this is fair. They put out an e-mail four days before the event, cancel it, and won't give anyone their money back."

On Thursday, 5K Foam Fest posted the following message on its Facebook page:

Dear 5k Foam Fest Friends,
Our organization has spent years and an incredible amount of money perfecting this great event for the runners we admire so much. However, due to limited resources we are sad to announce that the 5k Foam Fest is canceling all future events and will no longer be in business as of July 17th, 2014. After tireless efforts to find a way to help us finish out our season; we simply can't continue to move forward. However, the 5k Foam Fest Canada is an entirely different organization and will continue to operate business as usual.

For those registered for a 5K Foam Fest that will no longer being taking place, we know that you've spent time and energy preparing for your event. We reached out to some industry friends, and we'd like to thank Red Frog Events, the leaders in the running and active entertainment industry, who have stepped up to generously offer you a free registration to any of their 2014 or 2015 running events, which includes Warrior Dash,Epic Fail ChallengeThe Cocoa ClassicBacon Chase, and more to come over the next year, to make up for the canceled Round House Racing event you are registered for. You will receive an email from Red Frog Events within the week with a promo code to the email address you registered with to 5K Foam Fest, good for one free registration and 25% off another registration, in the case you'd like to bring a friend or family member at a discounted rate.

The 5k Foam Fest no longer has staff or funds and will not be able to respond to individual emails or phone calls, we will provide additional email updates as information becomes available. As we face bankruptcy we ask for your forgiveness and patience.

Participants can file complaints online with the BBB and, if payment was made by credit card, should also contact their credit card companies.

"It puts a bitter taste in your mouth because it's usually such a fun event. We're out. We're raising money for charity. To have this happen is really devastating," said Rhoads.

If you are considering participating in an event of this nature, the BBB advises:

- Check the organizer's rating at bbb.org and research them online.
- Contact the event venue to confirm the event is scheduled.
- Understand all terms and conditions - especially refund policies.
- Pay fees by credit card in case you need to dispute the charge at a later date.
- If the event is promoted as a charitable fundraiser, determine if any part of registration fees are considered a charitable donation for tax purposes. Also, check out the charity at bbb.org to make sure your donation is going to a trustworthy organization.

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