Runners Beware: That Fun Run You Signed up for Might be a Scam
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Runners Beware: That Fun Run You Signed up for Might be a Scam

May 11, 2015

Runners beware. That fun run you signed up for might end up being a scam.

Like all the fun things in life, scammers like to get in on the action in hopes of stealing your money. Road races, it seems, aren't immune from greedy people.

In April, the City of Fayetteville warned residents about a race called the Color 5 Mile Run, which was scheduled or sponsored by the city. "Permits for such events are required and one was neither requested nor received for this event," said a statement from the city. "Residents are encouraged to not sign-up for the event, which is advertised as starting at City Hall."

The Color 5 Mile is not to be confused with the Color Run, a legitimate race organization that holds races throughout the country. Donning white, runners navigate through clouds of colored powder earning the race the title of, "the happiest 5k on the planet."

The Color 5 Mile, on the other hand, has never held a race despite collecting a $45 registration fee from runners. Presumably, the name is intentionally misleading.

Two other questionable races include Color in Motion and Run or Dye, which the Better Business Bureau (BBB) gave a D and F rating, respectively, due to charging high rates, having sketchy ties to charity, having a track record of canceling or rescheduling races, and a no-refund clause to hang onto entry fees.

Fun run scams are increasing in popularity, but are hardly new. In 2014 the BBB warned consumers about a string of similar scams for foam races, like the 5k Foam Fest and Electric Foam 5k.

To avoid getting scammed, do your research, especially if you are unfamiliar with the organization. Do a Google search to find any complaints against the organizer and contact the venue to make sure the event is actually permitted to take place.

If the race has a charitable component, like many do, check with the charity to confirm the relationship.

After you've done your research, use a credit card to register and read the fine print before hitting submit.