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Friday, December 9, 2011

Hot Chocolate Fiasco

You may have read my summary of the Hot Chocolate 15K, and the things that I felt that RAM Racing (the organizers of the event) did wrong.  Well, it's really blown up. It started with some comments on the Hot Chocolate Race's Facebook Page, starting as early as the morning of the race. You see, RAM posted on the page that it was accidents that led to the traffic snarl getting to National Harbor, even though there weren't any. The Washingtonian actually checked this out and found it not to be true.

That's right, the race and the whole fiasco of it has gone to the press, including a radio interview (skip to 34:50), an article on WTOP and a Washington Post article. On another Facebook page, runners continue to complain and are asking for refunds. They're even disputing charges for the race on their credit cards and making Zazzle T-shirts about the race.

So, yeah, this race was bad. It was the worst organized race that I've ever run. That being said, I don't expect my money back. I did run the race. I did get a jacket (even if it sucked). I did eat chocolate. I guess, if the contract that RAM racing had with me was to hold a 15K race, and to give me a jacket and some chocolate, they fulfilled that. If I think they did a bad job of providing those things (which I do), then it's for me to not do business with RAM racing again (which I will not).

The thing is, never expect your money back for a race. Never. That money is spent soon after you've paid your registration fee - on water, food, premiums, police, etc. Those types of things are not refundable, which is why has a no refunds policy. I didn't get to run the Annapolis Ten Mile Run this year, either, since it was canceled. I didn't expect my money back at that race either. I understand how these things work.

I understand the frustration that this race caused, and like I said, it was the worst race I've ever run (organization-wise). However, I am surprised whenever I see on Facebook that people are still going on about it with such vigor. Given that I don't see next years race being held at National Harbor, especially since PG County has  now banned RAM racing from putting on a race there, and given that no one needs to sign up for another RAM racing event if they don't want to, don't you think our time might be better spent training for our next race?

Just a thought.

UPDATE: The race has made Dallas news as well, since RAM is planning a Hot Chocolate Race in Dallas in February.

One more update: I just wanted to say that I think the REAL losers in all of this were the folks working for MarathonFoto, who came out to the race, stood outside in the cold for an hour or longer than anticipated, and then probably won't sell that many of them because people won't want to remember this race. MarathonFoto, I feel for you. Totally a sucky situation.

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Jen said...

It never ceases to amaze me how many people demand refunds. I remember reading that in the discussions for A10 as well.

Black Knight said...

After a bad race I never ask for the refund because the organization, however, spent money.
But I complain and so my usual running-friends do.
Sometimes someone offers free bibs, for the next race, to the runners who ran in such bad event.

Kandi said...

I've already moved on from this race. It happened and it's over... I'm over it. On to bigger and better things. :)

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