Late withdrawal from events
Please note that a participant’s interpretation of this page does not change our Terms and Conditions.
Thousands of participants take part in our events each year and almost universally the events are praised as excellent and outstanding. We achieve these high standards because we invest considerable time and energy into the planning and execution of our events and because Ourea Events is run by passionate mountain running enthusiasts.
Each year a small number of participants at our events are disappointed not to receive a refund, or to be able to defer their entry when withdrawing from an event at a late stage. We have put this page together to explain the principle behind our Terms and Conditions found on each event's website.
First of all, at the beginning of 2018, we had a thorough review of the Terms and Conditions for each event and took detailed legal advice about our Terms and Conditions. Most importantly, we asked our solicitor to ensure that our Terms and Conditions are clear and fair to both us and the participants. By fairness, we mean balancing the participants’ desire to have the flexibility to withdraw or amend their entry, with our financial risk (as the event organiser) incurring considerable cost on behalf of the participants as we plan the event. Obviously, as we get closer to the event, we will have incurred more costs relative to each participant until a point when there is no reduction in our costs to organise an event if a participant does not attend. As a result of this review, we updated our Terms and Conditions so that they offered considerably greater flexibility for participates to receive a refund or transfer their entry.
If you have read any of Shane Ohly’s Race Director reports over the years you quickly pick up on a consistent theme: fairness. At an event, it is easier to understand. The event rules are applied universally without fear or favour and this creates equality and a level playing field for all. It is one of the many reasons our events are so highly regarded, and we apply the same consistent approach to the application of our event Terms and Conditions. Certainly, we do not want to get into the situation when every request for a refund or deferment needs to be judged for merit, as this is manifestly unfair on the other participants, and opens the system to prejudice and bias.
We understand that participants get ill, get injured, miss travel connections and exceptional events occur in life. We understand because every single employee of Ourea Events takes part in various events personally and has experienced this themselves at some point. We understand that no one enters an event expecting not to be able to take part.
So, who is more deserving: The international participant who missed their flight, the elite runner who has had a mental health relapse, the parent who’s childcare has fallen through, or the participant with an unexpected serious illness? Perhaps one illness is more deserving than another? Would anyone like to offer a refund grading scale dependant on the seriousness of an illness? The end results are that all these people are likely to miss the event for reasons that were nothing to do with the organiser, and to offer a refund at this stage is equivalent to offering free cancellation insurance to all participants with their entry.
It is important to remember that every year thousands of participants take part in our events and what might seem like an exceptional situation to a participant is played out weekly in the office. These situations are not exceptional when you look at the statistics of the many thousands of participants year after year.
As Ourea Events has grown and our events have become more popular, we are now finding that some of the events sell out and that there is an official waiting list. Therefore, we felt that when we had a waiting list that we should offer a full refund (less any transaction fees at cost e.g. a credit card refund fee) right up to the day before an event for all our events except our expedition races, where the refund deadline is one week before. If there is no waiting list, we do not offer a refund.
If there is no waiting list and a participant still wishes to withdraw and recoup their entry fee, they can seek their own replacement participant. When a replacement has been found we will refund the original participant (less any transactions fees at cost, and an administration fee of £10), and the new participant takes their place. For most events, we will transfer an entry until registration closes, except for our expedition and skyrunning races, where the transfer deadline is one week before.
For the Silva Great Lakeland 3Day™, the Cape Wrath Ultra™ and the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race® we also allow participants to defer their entry. A request to defer an entry must be done approximately four weeks before an event. The request that often causes most problems both for us and a participant is a late request to defer an entry. As we explained earlier we need to balance fairness to the participant with fairness to us as the organiser.
We advise that our participants get cancellation insurance to cover late withdrawal from an event, but unfortunately very few do this. By asking for a refund or deferment after our deadline the participant is effectively asking us to insure their potential withdrawal from an event for free!
A good analogy is to consider non-refundable airline tickets, which we are all familiar with. Imagine that you had booked a holiday months in advance, but a few days before travelling you become ill or had an injury. In this instance, you would not expect the airline to refund your ticket because you were unable to travel? If you had travel insurance, you may make a claim for the missed flight. Alternatively, consider booking seats at a cinema and being unable to attend… would you expect a refund? The same goes for popular fell or trail races; imagine you enter in advance and late in the day are unable to run. You would not expect the organiser to refund your entry.
ONLY IN IT FOR THE MONEY...
The accusation that really hurts is the rare claim that Ourea Events are, ‘only in it to make money’. We won’t mince our words here, if the participant really believes this then it displays a breath-taking ignorance and naivety about the costs we underwrite to deliver our events, and the sheer graft, hard work and passion we pour into each event. If you have read through all this and still think Ourea Events is, ‘only in it to make money’ we would be delighted not to see you at any of our events again.
We want our Terms and Conditions to be fair and clear and we honestly believe that they are. The last thing that we want to do is disappoint our customers who we value highly, yet we do need to balance the financial risk fairly between us and the participant.