Race Director Statement Regarding COVID-19
Updated: Aug 12, 2020
Posted July 11, 2020 when Texas cases are still at its highest
First off, please remember that everything written here is not set in stone. We are in unprecedented times for our lifetimes, and anything here is just my best guesses. I love my participants, I love my venues and state parks, and I love producing races. I also love the community, I love my family and friends, and I love my own health. I will always work hard to balance every single one of those things in every decision I make. I don't have a crystal ball, but I'll endeavor here to give the best answers I can to the questions I hear most.
What are the chances the race will happen? It's so hard to tell this far out since so much is up to what the government's restrictions will be and how quickly the community will get the spread of this virus under control. The state park wants to work with us to make sure the event happens, even if it involves lots of changes from the original event. I feel the same as long as the event can be done safely, protecting the health of not just the participants, but also the volunteers and their families too!
How different could the race look like from what is here on the website? It could be very different, and we need your flexibility so that we can follow all safety measures. Just some examples of potential changes:
It may mean a course change.
It may mean you will need to be completely self-sufficient in terms of your food and beverages.
For Dino Valley specifically: It may mean that your buckle will be mailed to you after the fact (100K and 100 mile finishers only) as these buckles are very expensive to commit the cost ahead of time with the potential the race is canceled and then it reduces the amount we can refund.
For all races that give finisher medals, it may mean that your medal is mailed to you within 4 weeks after race day, as predicting the quantity to order in these unprecedented times is so difficult.
It could mean a wave start and you will be assigned a starting hour at any point between race day or maybe even race weekend if a multi-day event.
If the race is not able to happen, will there be a virtual option?
General Policy: If we are close enough to the race date that bibs, shirts, and finisher medals are ordered, then yes, we will provide a virtual option. Those items are usually ordered in the 60-90 days before the race. There will be NO guaranteed refund if we move to a virtual option. If those items aren't ordered yet, we will go with some amount of refund. Read on for the refund details.
Specific to New Years Double: There is a virtual option open this year from the get-go for those who would rather not commit to an in-person race. If the in-person event is cancelled more than 30 days out, we will switch everyone to the virtual races and refund back the difference in entry fees. If the race is cancelled in the 30 day period before the race, no refund will be immediately available. A partial refund of some amount may be available depending on how vendor deposits and costs have to be paid even with a cancelation.
If the race is not able to happen, will there be a refund? If we are far enough away from race day that we have not ordered the bibs, shirts, and finisher medals, then a refund of a portion of the race entry fee will be provided. The further out we are from race day, the fewer deposits and costs we will accrue from vendors that have to be paid anyway even if we cancel. In this case, based on past actual costs and payment schedules to vendors, I should be able to refund at least 50% of your entry fee. The exact amount will be determined by what bills are due so that we can cover costs.
As an example of the good faith practices The Active Joe has shown in the past, in 2018, major area flooding in October caused us to postpone our race by about a month. Refunds were granted for those who couldn't attend the new date because there was a certainty of adding new participants for this new date.
In late March 2020, after COVID-19 became a part of all of our worlds, I issued full refunds to all entrants in my late April 2020 race even though I also still had to pay $4,000 to various vendors where contracts or agreements required they get paid. I knew unemployment would affect some of my runners, and I wanted them to have their whole entry fee back. This could be done when the situation was new and we were all still learning so much about it, but it's not financially feasible to do that for each race going forward.
What if the race can happen, but the government or the state park system limits the number of entrants allowed at the race? Although the goal entrant count for the Dino Valley Endurance Run race was 500, as a specific example, there is a chance that we will be able to hold the event but with a limit of fewer participants than we already have signed up at that time. If that happens, I will work within the guidelines to make it that as many of you can race as I can. In order to get down to that total limit, we will keep the entrants with the earliest signups, the longest distances, and those who already have non-refundable travel booked. Those beyond that will be given the virtual option if bibs, shirts, and medals have already been ordered, or if they haven't, will receive a refund back based on what remains after sunk costs are already paid to vendors.
Can we defer our race entries to next year? No. As mentioned above, some amount of your entry fee in 2020 would already be dedicated to vendors who need to be paid, and I would again have those costs in the 2021 race. Further, I would rather give you a partial refund than hold any amount of your money for another full year, when I know some entrants need that money for their day to day or unexpected bills!
Will you be able to make everyone happy with whatever decisions you make? No. :-) And I get that. But I hope that all my entrants will have compassion and believe that decisions are always made with the best intentions for everyone's circumstances. And if you want to gripe about it, I hope you'll send me an email rather than just post about it on social media without providing me your direct feedback.
Your Race Director, Libby Jones
The Active Joe | Owner