Runners Waiting for Registration Fee Refunds After Virginia Race Canceled

A month after a race in Virginia was canceled, several runners say they haven’t received word about getting their registration fees back.

Judy Lee of Arlington said she and four friends signed up for the Great Chocolate Race in December. Each paid $50 to race on a scenic course and receive medals and chocolate truffles upon finishing.

But three days before the race, an email said the race was canceled.

“An email, I think on Dec. 6, saying, ‘Hey, sorry, but the race is canceled, and we’ll be in touch. Merry Christmas,’” Lee’s friend Andrew said.

But Lee and her friends have not heard back or been refunded.

Race organizer Crucible Racing blamed the cancellation on permitting issues with Arlington.

Arlington's special events office said Crucible never obtained all necessary permits to hold the race and said Crucible owner Michael Barder knew the permits he needed because he hosted the same race the year before.


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“Fifty dollars, I mean, it’s not going to break our bank, but it’s really the principal of it,” Lee said.

Barder also canceled other races around the country, and according to complaints on Yelp, runners paid registration fees but never got refunds.

“It’s just not right,” Lee said.

Arlington County said it expected as many as 2,500 runners, which would add up to $125,000 in registration fees for the race.

“My thought is that we’re never going to hear anything back and we’re probably never going to see the money again,” Andrew said.

Barder's email to the City of San Diego blamed lower than anticipated demand and higher than anticipated costs for canceling a race there and promised refunds to the participants.

NBC4 Responds made multiple calls to Barder and his wife and got no response. No one answered the door at their home in Lanexa in Kent County, Virginia.

NBC4 Responds contacted Virginia’s Office of the Attorney General, which assigned an investigator to Lee’s complaint.

As for other runners, one woman’s Yelp review out of Texas says she received a refund.

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