Runners who planned to take part in the Two Town Half Marathon and 5k won’t be hearing a starting gun this morning.
And many are voicing their displeasure with the accompanying announcement that their registration would be transferred instead to a 5k glow run in November.
Organizers announced on Tuesday on the event website as well as social media that the event would be canceled. The announcement was made after Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency for a large chunk of Eastern North Carolina.
The statement explains that “safety is our number one priority,” providing a link with the latest update of Hurricane Matthew’s path.
Organizers also explained to racers via the posted statement that the event was not going to be rescheduled, but that those registered for the Two Town race were being automatically registered for the Nov. 5 Two Town 5k Beach Glow Run as a kind of refund.
But a 3.1-mile run is not equivalent to the 13.1 miles those signed up had planned for. Just ask Steve Jones of Goldsboro. Jones, who had planned his family’s vacation around the half marathon, was joining nearly a dozen runners who had trained for months for the half-marathon.
“I have had a group training since June to run their first half. I am currently staying in Surf City in a cottage that sleeps 24,” Jones said. “I understand you cannot control the weather this weekend, but in order to run another half it would require another entry fee and that is just a lot for these folks.”
Jones and his group plan to run the half marathon on their own if the weather clears enough.
“They want to feel like they earned those medals, which I haven’t heard if we’re getting those and our T-shirts yet or not,” he said, referring to the finisher medals given to runners as they cross the finish line.
Some racers have asked the organization to at least defer registration to next year’s event instead, while others are asking for a complete refund due to the wording of the waiver signed at the time of registration.
“Trying to swap it for another race is not acceptable for the people that have worked so hard for it,” Jones said. “It is frustrating to just be cut off without any kind of effort to get you what you paid for.”
Portions of the waiver discussed no refunds being awarded for the event, while another portion of the document near the racer signature read, “Understands there will be no refunds for this event unless the program is cancelled by Surf City Parks & Recreation Department.”
The event hosted by Surf City Parks and Recreation was to benefit Pretty in Pink Foundation, which provides financial assistance to uninsured and underinsured breast cancer patients both locally and within North Carolina.
After a few posts and after responding to a few concerned racers on the race’s dedicated Facebook page, page administrators went silent, citing storm preparations. Racers were encouraged by the event coordinators to contact them in regards to the cancellation, but explained they may not be available.
“Please know, Charter Communications have already reported outages throughout Southeastern North Carolina,” the statement posted on the website and social media said. “We apologize in advance if we are unable to answer our phones. The best point of contact will be email or social media until the storm subsides.”
Surf City Parks and Recreation could not be reached by The Daily News for comment due to phone difficulties.
“All requests are being taken into careful consideration,” the last post about the event on the Facebook page. “We are currently preparing for the storm and potential impacts. Thank you for your patience.”