In the past few years, the number of fun runs - themed races such as Color Runs, Foam Runs, Mud Runs and Bubble Runs - offered nationwide have skyrocketed.
Though most of these races make good on their promises of offbeat fun and adventure, there have been issues with some of these races, mostly involving last-minute delays, cancellations, or refund issues. Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) offers tips to help runners steer clear of obstacles.
"On the surface, most of these events sound like a lot of fun, and many races deliver on that promise. However, some have left hopeful racers unhappy," said Susan Adams Loyd, President and CEO of BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota.
If you're thinking about participating in a Fun Run, here are some BBB tips:
Do your research. Check out the race organizer's track record by accessing their BBB Business Profile. Read customer reviews from runners who have participated in previous races before you register. See if cancellations or postponed races have been an issue.
Don't be fooled by a well-designed website. Scammers can easily create an official-looking website. Look for misspellings or poor grammar, which is a sign you might be dealing with fraudsters.
Check the local venue. Contact the park or host venue to confirm that the event is on their calendar. It's also a good idea to contact city officials to ensure that necessary permits have been obtained by the race organizers.
Pay with a credit card. Charges made on a credit card can be disputed after a purchase, whereas debit or cash transactions are more difficult to dispute.
Read the Agreement. In many cases, promoters of fun runs disclose on their websites that they don't offer refunds. Be clear on what happens if your race is postponed or canceled.
Keep documentation of your order. After completing the online registration process, print out and keep a copy of the confirmation for future reference.
File a complaint. People who have issues with a race should file complaints at bbb.org, and though the Minnesota Attorney General's Office in Minnesota or the North Dakota Attorney General's Office .
Just as it's a great idea to stretch out before a race, it's also a great idea to do your research ahead of time to ensure your fun run will deliver the goods.