BBB warning: Fun runs, like the "Dirty Girl Mud Run" promise more than they deliver

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Better Business Bureau has been hearing a lot of complaints about various fun runs that have been cancelled with short notice, often with no refunds.

This week, BBB Serving Wisconsin received forty-seven complaints from paid participants of the Dirty Girl Mud Run planned for Charleston, West Virginia. Complainants stated the run was cancelled with a four days’ notice.

The complaints are currently pending.

However, in February 2014, BBB received two dozen complaints from paid participants of a mud run scheduled for Raleigh, North Carolina. Complainants reported its venue was rescheduled for a different city a few weeks before the run. Dirty Girl Mud Run responded to all of the complaints filed by the BBB Serving Wisconsin in February and provided refunds.

According to the company’s website, it currently states, “We have a strict no refund policy and refunds will not be issued under any circumstances."

Last week, BBB of Greater Cleveland reported on a 5K Foam Fest that was cancelled with just four days’ notice. An email to paid participants said “Unfortunately, we’re not able to provide you with a refund.” A similar event scheduled for southern California was also cancelled with the same “no refund” email. The race website says they have ceased operations as of July 17. Another race company has offered Foam Fest participants a discount code for future theme races.

The two 5K Foam Fest events were to be put on by Round House Racing Team, which is based in Utah. Since the cancellation was announced, BBB Utah has received 90 complaints from participants looking for refunds of the $45-75 registration fees they were charged. The BBB is processing those complaints now, and an Alert was added to the company’s BBB Business Review.

This cancellation news came just a month after Runners’ World reported that the Electric Foam 5K had shut down after numerous race cancellations and an F rating with BBB for its parent company, Color Mania 5K. A number of BBBs and at least one national media outlet had been investigating the cancelled Electric Foam 5Ks when the company announced it was closing down all the events. Some participants received refunds through Groupon. The company’s website said it was filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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

    For an on online version of this story click here.

    For more information or further inquiries, 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).

    Consumers also can find more information about how to protect themselves from scams by following the Wisconsin BBB on TwitterFacebook and You Tube.