Problems at last weekend’s Run or Dye event has led Canyon Ski Resort to rule out hosting any future events associated with the U.S.-based company.
Resort general manager David Martel said the event was poorly planned and organized.
As a result, Martel said the Run or Dye organization or any affiliated companies will not be allowed to hold another event at the resort.
Martel said they have handled large events in the past that ran smoothly. He said there was some miscommunication when the organizers originally approached the resort to host the event. Martel said he has heard complaints about the road to the site and safety concerns from participants.
An estimated 5,000 people were registered for the first-time event. Participants travelled a course and were showered with non-toxic colouring at various stages.
They were required to be at the venue between to 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. but because of rainy weather, the starting window was extended to noon. Martel said he thought the runners would arrive spaced throughout the day.
Gail Fischer, 48, a single mother in Red Deer, was looking forward to a fun bonding experience with her 16-year-old daughter when she arrived on Saturday.
Instead, she faces at minimum $2,000 bill to fix the clutch on her 2010 Hyundai Genesis, which she says was damaged on the road leading to Canyon Ski Resort.
Fischer said she was shocked to see the muddy and rutted road. She said vehicles were lined up bumper to bumper on the winding road. Had she been warned about the conditions, Fischer said she would not have gone.
“Oh my gosh, the ruts and the mud,” she said. “People were getting stuck. If you got stuck, there was nowhere to turn around. If you stopped, you got stuck. You had to keep on going.”
Fischer said if she had a bigger vehicle, it may have been better but she had no choice but to drive her car to the event because there were no other options.
“Nobody told us about the road conditions,” said Fischer, who has had to drain her savings to pay for her repairs.
Fischer had intended to use the money for a trip for her daughter, who is turning 17, but now she has to cancel “because somebody doesn’t know how to run an event.”
Martel said as the day progressed, the road did deteriorate. He said the registration for the day’s event opened up at 7 a.m. and the majority of the vehicles were on the road around 8:30 a.m. Martel said the event organizers were responsible for the road before and during the event.
“I feel sorry for everybody that came out,” said Martel. “Unfortunately, whether we like it or not it reflects badly on our resort as well. That’s what we didn’t want to happen. We’re also highly disappointed in all this. The only thing we can do is not allow them back.”
Fischer said the road should have been closed.
She said parking was also a nightmare where motorists were directed to park on uneven grass. Her car started smoking and eventually she had to have it towed out of the site.
“They put a whole bunch of people in danger coming out there in those conditions,” said Fischer. “That event should have been cancelled for the safety of the people coming out there.”
On the morning of the race, the U.S.-based company emailed registrants to let them know the race was still a go. In the email, the company said it was muddy and asked participants to be extra patient with parking.
Run or Dye is a part of Viral Events, which is has its headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Katie Langston, communications director for Viral Event, said they do everything in their power to avoid cancelling an event because it leaves a lot up in the air, including rescheduling and refunds.
“Our motto is as long as people’s safety isn’t on the line we do everything we can in a weather-related situation to hold the event.
“In the end, working with the venue we decided that we could move forward with the event,” said Langston. “It was something we discussed and we were very close to cancelling the event.”
Modifications were made to the course to improve safety, including shortening the five-km route. Some participants complained about the muddy course.
“I think the email sent out made it pretty clear that it was going to be pretty muddy,” she said. “We let them know it was going to be in area that there was going to be mud. As a result, we were alternating the course and so on.”
Langston said on Wednesday afternoon that they were unaware that the company would not be welcomed back. She said they would reach out to Canyon Ski Resort.
Langston said they have received a mix of positive and negative feedback over the event.
People can contact the Run or Dye customer service team at www.runordye.com for a free ticket to either the Edmonton or Calgary upcoming races if they were not happy with their Red Deer experience.