Racers upset with 5K that ended up a runaround for a refund

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A 5K race scheduled to be held last August was supposed to raise money for charity and provide a good time. So why are so many of the runners upset, and now warning others about an event company they no longer trust?

If you are a runner, you know there are a lot of races out there that you can pay to enter. Many are run by private companies, and this race was no exception. The only difference is that the race didn’t happen, and those who signed up, and there were thousands of them, tell FOX 4 they are having trouble getting a refund.

Well, they are also having trouble even finding a phone number to reach someone at this company.

It’s called the Neon Dash, a night-time race in bold color. Jordie Malcolm has run in other races like it before.

“This is stuff I got from a run for 2013,” Malcolm said, showing off some memorabilia.

That race was put on by a different company, but Malcolm said she had such good memories from her last race that she didn’t hesitate to sign up for the Neon Dash. It was supposed to be held August 23 in Kansas City.

“The earlier you sign up, the cheaper it is,” she said.

She registered in early August and paid $29. But a week before the race, a post went up on Neon Dash’s Facebook page, saying the race had already been held on August 17 at Kemper Arena.

“Not true,” Malcolm said.

The company seemed to acknowledge that by sending all the participants a mass e-mail admitting that it had in fact cancelled the event and promised to reschedule or give them a refund. That was two months ago.

“It’s never been refunded and it’s never been rescheduled. I feel like they forgot about us,” Malcolm said.

FOX 4 Problem Solvers received multiple e-mails from other upset race participants; some are out $100. The company is based in Chandler, Ariz. There is no phone number on its website, but FOX 4 Problem Solvers tracked down a number for its marketing person on the Internet.

However, when we tried to call we couldn’t even leave a message, all we could do is punch in our number to some unnamed person’s pager.

We never heard back. We also tried leaving a Facebook message, and didn’t get an answer.

Malcolm’s debit card receipt showed her payment went to a company called Shoelace Events. The Arizona Secretary of State’s Office lists the owner of that company as Ruben Smyers. We called Mr. Smyers. He sounded like a nice man and seemed genuinely concerned that Kansas City wasn’t hearing from anyone at Neon Dash. He promised to look into it.

Jordie Malcolm said the whole experience has left her a little skeptical, she never thought she’d be in a race for a refund.

Although the manager of Kemper Arena initially told FOX 4 Neon Dash never signed a contract to hold the run, on further review a spokemsan for Kemper tells us a contract was signed and a deposit was paid, although the race was never held.

We finally did hear from Neon Dash in an anonymous Facebook post. It told us they had to cancel the run because of an equipment problem and are planning to reschedule in Kansas City, but haven’t come up with a new date yet.

Also, they tell us that the man we spoke to has nothing to do with the company. We messaged back and asked for the name of someone in charge, and we got no response.

Now if you are concerned about not getting a refund, you can file a complaint with the Missouri Attorney General’s Office. If this company is in violation of Missouri law, the office will take action.