CANCELED: 5K Foam-Fest called off, runners out cash - KMSP-TV

CANCELED: 5K Foam-Fest called off, runners out cash

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

A lot of Minnesota runners were looking forward to a popular fun-run at Running Aces next Saturday, but the parent company's bankruptcy has put an end to those plans -- and hopes for a refund.

In its highly-produced promotional video, Foam Fest is described as a running obstacle course that isn't too much different from the popular TV show, "Wipe Out." On the Round House Racing Team website, organizers wrote that they are canceling all future events and will no longer be in business after July 17 -- but there's no such message on the St. Paul Foam Fest Page, where a count-down clock indicates that the race is still on and registration is $85.

"On their website, they threw up a bigger banner saying there are no more funds, we're closing, and we have worked with this other company to hopefully get people who have paid in entry fees a chance to register for a race with this company -- but we don't know what that entails," Dan Hendrickson, of the Better Business Bureau, explained. "We don't know how easy that process is. We don't know if it will be compatible. Will they be able to run a race here in St. Paul or will they have to go to Chicago or Milwaukee? We don't really know yet. There's a lot of unknowns here."

The St. Paul event isn't the first to be scrapped. The company, which also runs the Dirty Girl Twin Cities Mud Run, just canceled a similar race scheduled for this weekend in West Virginia. On Friday, the attorney general in that state negotiated refunds through a third-party ticketing company.

So far, the Twin Cities mud run set for Aug. 2 still seems to be on, but Hendrickson says both events raise a number of consumer awareness issues. He recommends that any runner first scope out the company sponsoring the event before signing up.

"Check out other races," he recommended. "See other cities to see what other experiences runners have had, and just pay attention to the bottom line and make sure the company has a track record."

Hendrickson also recommends keeping documentation of the registration order and paying with a credit card instead of a debit card, since those tend to offer more consumer protections.

"If you don't get your product or service, you can file a dispute with your credit card provider," he explained. "They'll do an investigation and, in most cases where the company has failed to live up to their obligation, you will receive your funds back."

One runner who told Fox 9 News she paid with a debit card explained that she's currently out $120. She's working with her bank, but was told that if the bank can't get the repayment, she'll simply be out the amount debited from her account.

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