BBB: Runners beware of "fun run" ripoffs

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From the color runs to the obstacle course runs to the holiday-themed runs, "fun runs" continue to gain popularity among both beginners and seasoned athletes.

But after a 5K Foam Fest in Ohio and a similar one in California were canceled with short notice and no refunds, the Better Business Bureau is telling runners to beware, not all runs are a fun experience.

Wichita running partners Tonya Wells and Kristen Ware have participated in a number of races together, and have lost some money along the way. So they're not surprised the BBB has come out with a warning about fun runs.

"We had one a couple years ago, a half marathon that got canceled because there wasn't enough registered and then we had another 5K get canceled on us too," Wells said.

The BBB advises those who want to register for fun runs to:

Call the local venue to confirm the event is scheduled.

Check the company's reviews online before signing up.

Carefully read the terms and conditions before clicking "agree."

Finally, pay with a credit card to document the order. Then keep any email or paper receipts.

"And when in doubt, ask us, and we'll let you know," Winston Kenton said.

He works at GoRun Wichita, an athletic store in town. Kenton encourages his customers to take part in races that support local charities because it's less likely participants will get ripped off and because then the registration fees go toward a good cause.

"Whatever it takes to promote the great sport of running, is OK by me," Kenton said. "And I think I could say on behalf of our entire company at GoRun that we want to see people running, we want to see people out there participating in runs, we would just ask them to make sure they can verify that the race is hosted by a reputable organization, people they can trust."

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