"Fun Runs": Make Sure and Read Terms Before Signing Up

July 30, 2014

‘Fun runs’ can be a great way to leverage the popularity of running and walking to benefit charities, but recent cancellations of races shortly before the scheduled events are a cause for concern, BBB advises.

BBBs in several states have experienced a rash of complaints about "Fun Runs". Complaints alledge races were canceled shortly before the scheduled events, and registered recipients received emails saying they would not receive refunds of fees ranging from $45 to $75. 

BBB provides BBB Business Reviews of companies and BBB Charity Reviews of charities that provide valuable information, such as where the organization is based, whether it has complaints pending with BBB and whether it complies with BBB standards. Reviews are available free of charge on BBB’s website or by calling 309-688-5124.

More BBB tips for fun run participants include:

  • Do your research. Check out the company’s BBB Business Review or BBB Charity Review before signing up at www.bbb.org or by calling 309-688-5124.
  • Understand the terms and conditions. In some cases, promoters say on their websites that they don’t offer refunds, but many consumers don’t read the fine print before agreeing to the terms and conditions.
  • Check with the venue. Contact the city, park or other venue to confirm that promoters have filed necessary paperwork to schedule the event.
  • Pay with a credit card. Charges made on a credit card can be disputed after a purchase, whereas debit, cash or wire transfer transactions cannot.
  • Keep documentation of your order. After completing the online registration process, you should receive a confirmation receipt. Print out and keep a copy of the confirmation and any supporting documentation for future reference.
  • Check out the charity. If the event promoters claim a portion of the proceeds will go to charity, check the charity out on www.bbb.org. If you have any doubts, call the charity to confirm that they are benefitting from the run. Be wary of charities with names that sound like or are similar to established charities.


For 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping consumers find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2012, consumers turned to BBB more than 100 million times for Business Reviews on more than 4 million companies and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at www.bbb.org. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for 114 local, independent BBB's across the United States and Canada, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution and industry self-regulation.


For more information, journalists should contact Jessica Tharp at 309-670-1182 or jtharp@hoibbb.org