UTMB, the largest of the three races profiled here, upon announcing their cancellation, returned 55% of their registration fees to the runners. Additionally, they extended an offer of an automatic spot in the race in any of its next three runnings, 2021, 2022, and 2023 to all of the 2020 entrants. In explaining the rationale behind the 55% refund, the organizers of UTMB said that at the time of the cancellation that was roughly the amount of money that had been spent on the race up until that point.
The Western States 100, upon announcing the cancellation of their race for the second time in their history, made the same decision they made when they cancelled in 2008 due to wildfires, that every entrant and waitlister would have their entries rolled over to 2021. Additionally, given the fact that so many qualifiers have been canceled, these rolled-over entrants will not need to re-qualify for 2021. Should any entrant choose to withdraw from the race, they can receive a full refund provided they withdraw by June 26, 2020.
The Hardrock 100, which was facing its second consecutive cancellation and fourth cancellation in race history, has taken a decidedly different approach and one which was quite different than the decisions they made in their previous cancellations. As Hardrock currently has a lottery that is divided into three categories; Veterans (people who have run the race five or more times), runners who have never run the race, and Everyone Else runners (runners who have one to four Hardrock finishers), the race organizers decided to roll over the entries of the Never group and to nullify the entries of the Veteran and Everyone Else groups and waitlists. As a result, the 110 runners in those two categories will have their full entry fees refunded and a new lottery will take place for those two categories in December of 2020. Essentially, the results of the December of 2018 lottery have been expunged for Veterans and Everyone Else runners.
In the midst of a global pandemic, we have all seen that the normal rules of life and living have simply been turned upside down and in many walks of life it has become increasingly clear that making decisions in the context of these extraordinary circumstances is difficult, at best, and downright impossible when pushed to the limit. While each of these high-profile events have chosen to address these decisions differently, they seem to have all attempted to do so in ways that honor the integrity of their events. Ultimately, time will tell how these choices will impact the sport and the events we love so much.
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Call for Comments
- Were you in one of these three canceled races? If so, what are your thoughts on the decision-making process?
- What other unique approaches to canceling and rescheduling have you see in other ultras around the world?