BBB receives dozens of complaints about fun runs

BBB offers tips to consider before signing up for themed runs

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has received dozens of complaints about various themed fun runs that were canceled with short notice, often with no refunds.

The BBB has recently received complaints from paid participants of the Dirty Girl Mud Run planned for Charleston, West Virginia, the 5K foam Fest in the Greater Cleveland area and southern California, and the Electric Foam 5K.

This week, the BBB received 47 complaints of the Dirty Girl Mud Run planned for Charleston, West Virginia. The BBB said complainants said the run was canceled with a four days’ notice. In February, the BBB received about 25 complaints from paid participants for the mud run scheduled for Raleigh, North Carolina. According to the BBB, the Dirty Girl Mud Run responded to all of  the complaints filed by the BBB Serving Wisconsin in February and provided refunds.

The BBB of Greater Cleveland reported a 5K Foam Fest was canceled with just four days’ notice and a similar event scheduled for southern California was also canceled with a “no refund” email, according to the BBB. The race website said they ceased operations as of July 17. The BBB said since the cancelation was announced, BBB Utah received 90 complaints from participants looking for refunds. The BBB said it’s working on those complaints now.

The Electric Foam 5K shut down after numerous race cancellations and an F rating with BBB for its parent company, Color Mania 5K. News 8’s sister station WISC reported on the Electric Foam 5K held outside the Alliant Energy Center in Madison on Saturday night, May 17. Participants had filed complaints with the BBB and notified media outlets set to host an Electric Foam 5K.

f you are thinking about participating in a themed fun run, here are some tips from the BBB:

Do your research. Check out the company’s BBB Business Review and search online for additional information before signing up. Understand the terms and conditions. In some cases, promoters say on their websites that they don’t offer refunds, but many consumers don’t read the fine print before hitting “I agree” to long online documents. Check the local venue. Contact the park or other venue to confirm that the event is scheduled. Pay with a credit card. Charges made on a credit card can be disputed after a purchase, whereas debit, cash or wire transfer transactions cannot. Keep documentation of your order. After completing the online registration process, you should receive a confirmation receipt. Print out and keep a copy of the confirmation and any supporting documentation for future reference. Check out the charity. Most fun runs are for-profit, but if the promoters claim a portion of the proceeds will go to charity, check it out on to make sure your donation is going to a trustworthy charity. Be wary of sound-alike names similar to more famous charities.

 For more information, contact the Wisconsin BBB at or 414-847-6000 (metro Milwaukee), 920-734-4352 (Appleton), 608-268-2221 (Madison) or 1-800-273-1002 (elsewhere in Wisconsin).