Better Business Bureau Warns: Hard Charge Challenge Race is leaving customers in the mud

July 03, 2014

The traditional 5k run keeps evolving into new “fun runs” and “adventures” nearly every weekend in central Iowa. Now those up to the challenge must wade waist deep through pools of mud and crawl under barbed wire fences with a tractor tire chained to their ankle, climb up walls bathed in Crisco, or be doused with paint as you run by certain check points.

Hard Charge Challenge is one such operation that was making its way to Des Moines, but the Better Business Bureau is warning that that the company has ceased all business operations, thus leaving many intended participants left stuck in the mud.

This obstacle race course designed to test speed, strength and stamina was to be held on August 2nd at the  Cownie Sports Complex in Des Moines. Admission ranged from $59-$102. A Groupon was sold for this event, but is no longer available. The company previously sponsored races throughout the country.

The company has taken down its website, and replaced it with a short statement to customers, in part stating, “There are no longer staff in place to help with customer service.   All events current and future events are canceled.  Due to our financial situation, Hard Charge is unable to provide refunds to any athlete who has registered.”

Additionally, the BBB is working with the city of Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department. According to the Recreations Manager, the city was simply leasing the area to the for-profit company and are in no way financially connected to the company.

The Better Business Bureau recommends the following steps be taken immediately by those who have registered and paid for the event:

  • The BBB encourages those who purchased tickets through Groupon to contact them for more information.
  • If a customer has registered and paid with a credit card, contact your credit card immediately. 
  • The BBB encourages those experiencing difficulty receiving a refund to contact our office so we can do our best to assist in obtaining refunds.   The BBB will also maintain a file on the company so the company and its owners will be exposed if they attempt to create a new similar enterprise.   Contact the BBB at to file a complaint so we have a record of your experience; or contact us by phone at 800.222.1600. 

The Better Business Bureau serving Greater Iowa, Quad Cities and Siouxland Region offers the following tips when deciding whether or not to participate in a fun run near you:

  • Start with Trust. Check the BBB for the legitimacy and background information on charities and businesses.
  • Do your Research Before not After. If the venue is states they are a fundraiser for a certain charity, find out how much goes to the actual cause.
  • Pay with a major credit card. Paying with a credit card affords you more protection than your debit card or a check by allowing you to dispute the charge if a problem occurs.
  • Read all contracts and agreements. Make sure you read the fine print regarding cancellation policies, insurance, refunds and if any part of your entry fee is tax deductible.
  • Stay Engaged.   “Like” us on Facebook ( or follow us on Twitter ( to have immediate access to information about scams.