Participants Await Refunds For Canceled Events After Run Afan Forest Collapses

Event organizing company under fire following last-minute cancellations and no refunds

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Runners across the UK find themselves in a frustrating situation as sports events company Run Afan Forest abruptly announced its closure. 

The company has since become the subject of criticism for canceling several events on short notice. 

Most recently, the Farfik Half Marathon was subject to Run Afan Forest’s late cancellation. Just four days before the race, 1,500 participants were notified that the event was cancelled.

Just one week prior to the cancellation, participants were told they would receive their race numbers soon. Now, participants are waiting for refunds, which have yet to be offered.

Accusations of the company not offering refunds to registered participants, including those signed up for the famous Buff Epic Trail 10K and other races, have raised further questions and criticisms among the UK running community.

Run Afan Forest Director Adam Newton responded to BBC about the allegations, labeling them as “inaccurate and unfounded.” 

He asserted that affected individuals were offered race credits, emphasizing, “Nobody should feel let down.” However, the lack of transparency and abrupt closure has left many feeling otherwise.

Run Afan Forest was established after the liquidation of Tough Runner UK

Tough Runner UK also had a long history of short-notice cancellations.

Ruth Heavyside, a 39-year-old graphic designer from Cardiff, expressed her disappointment after learning about the cancellation of the Buff Epic Trail 10K on social media. 

Having participated in the event the previous year, she was looking forward to running the event once again but now faces the challenge of reclaiming her entry fee.

Heavyside’s experience reflects a pattern of dissatisfaction among participants, with reports of event date changes and inadequate amenities when events were taking place. 

She highlighted the lack of communication from Run Afan Forest to BBC, stating, “No email confirmation from them, no cancellation, no apology. Just social media to point me in the direction of their website and let me know that my event is canceled.

The financial implications of the company’s closure are hitting participants hard. 

Heavyside, who paid £22 for her race entry, now hopes to recover her money through her bank. 

This sentiment is echoed by many, emphasizing that even seemingly modest amounts are significant, particularly for families with the holiday season approaching.

Gareth Rees, from Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire, put out £75 for Run Afan Forest’s Pembrokeshire Trail Half Marathon scheduled for May 2024. 

His disappointment intensified as red flags were raised about the lack of communication from the company within his triathlon club, Tenby Aces. 

Rees lamented to BBC, “You feel you’ve been conned.

The unraveling of Run Afan Forest is not isolated to participant grievances. 

Last week, Welsh Triathlon, Triathlon England, and Triathlon Scotland jointly announced the revocation of event permits for Run Afan Forest. The decision followed the company’s failure to meet the terms and conditions required for these permits.

Welsh Athletics also took action, suspending Run Afan Forest from delivering licensed events. 

This move allows Welsh Athletics to conduct a comprehensive review of the competition provider, shedding light on the systemic issues that may have led to the company’s downfall.

As runners grapple with financial losses and unfulfilled expectations, the closure underscores the importance of transparency, communication, and accountability in the organization of sporting events.

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Jessy has been active her whole life, competing in cross-country, track running, and soccer throughout her undergrad. She pivoted to road cycling after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology with Nutrition from Acadia University. Jessy is currently a professional road cyclist living and training in Spain.

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