Race organizers announced the decision Tuesday, saying they could not offer a reschedule date refunds or transfers to different races which was stated in the race forms. But backlash from disappointed racers was swift and loud. Many posted to the race Facebook page to ask for better follow up and calling into question the decision to keep participant fees.
"Why can't this be rescheduled?" wrote one poster. "This race doesn't even support a charity, it's simply a business decision to cancel the race. I completely understand covering the costs associated with putting on this race...but the excess should be refunded."
So Wednesday afternoon, organizers responded, posting to their Facebook page, in part, "Thank you for the feedback and comments from our race participants, sponsors and community over the past 24 hours. We have heard you. We are going to be providing more options to you our runners that we truly believe you will be excited to hear! A list of those options will be communicated to all race participants the middle of next week."
Race organizers announced the decision Tuesday, sending a note to participants that said, "race staff along with municipal, state and federal emergency agencies, University of Arkansas athletic facilities, and City of Fayetteville officials has determined that we cannot provide a course or venues that will be safe for participants. Safety of our participants, as well as our volunteers and spectators, is our primary concern. Equally so, the safety of our community residents must be considered. Due to current street and trail conditions along with continued below freezing temperatures at night and the forecast for heavy precipitation for this weekend; the decision was collaboratively made to cancel the 2013 event. The roads, trails and venues will simply not be safe to hold a running event."
All the Half Marathon events, which included a 5k, fun run and health & fitness fair, have been called off. They will not be offering a reschedule date though they did offer up the tentative date for next year's race, November 7. While no refunds will be made to those racers who've paid their fee - they will be given a discount on next years registration costs.
The group included a list of Q and A to registered racers further explaining their decision to cancel and also addressing the non-refunded fees:
Q: Why was the race canceled?
A: A major ice and snow storm went through Fayetteville on Thursday, December 5. The National Weather Service is predicting temperatures below freezing through the week along with heavy precipitation on Friday, Friday night and Saturday of the race weekend. These conditions are deemed to be unsafe for our participants, volunteers, and spectators. We waited until the very last reasonable moment to make this decision in light of all the hard work and preparation that is required by our partners, volunteers and staff to put on the race.
Q: Will you reschedule?
A: The race will not be rescheduled.
Q: What is the proposed date for 2014?
A: Sunday November 7, 2014.
Q: Can runners receive a refund/deferral/transfer/holdover?
A: No, the Fayetteville Half Marathon has a standard industry policy of no refunds, transfers or deferrals in the case of a weather-related cancellation.
Q: Are you offering any type of discount for the 2014 event?
A: A 20% discount will be offered to any 2013 registered participant for the 2014 event. An email to those registrants will be sent when registration opens May 1, 2014
Q: Your policy states that if a participant contacts the race director before the race that a rollover or transfer is allowed.
A: This policy is intended for a few runners who were unable to attend the race. This policy is not for a weather-related cancellation.
Q: Can I get my participant gear?
A: We will communicate directly with those registered runners who purchased shirts and other race merchandise on this matter.
Q: What about the Expo?
A: The Health & Fitness Expo is canceled. We have notified all vendors and communicated to participants, volunteers and the general public through email, social media and media outlets.
Q: What about the 2013 Finisher Medals?
A: If you registered in 2013 and complete the 2014 Half Marathon or 5k, we will provide you with two medals – the medal you would have received for finishing the 2013 race and your 2014 finisher medal.
Thank you for your continued support. Canceling the Fayetteville Half Marathon is not a decision taken lightly and one that we hope this great running community will support. Your efforts are not unnoticed and your comments are being heard