National race still plans on Central Illinois

By Gary Brode |

Published 04/21 2014 10:32PM

Updated 05/02 2014 09:29AM

Latest: 10:23 pm, 5/1/14, Thursday
CHAMPAIGN COUNTY -- Apologies are coming from the people in charge of the Run or Dye Race. It was supposed to be held in Champaign, May 10, but there were complications in getting the permit. So, it was canceled.

It's rescheduled for Rantoul, in October. Thursday, Run or Dye's CEO released a statement about the mix-up: "We recognize that there was room for improvement in terms of our level of communication with the city and especially the participants. We are very sorry for the frustration and confusion that it caused."
Latest: 10:02 pm, 4/23/14, Wednesday
RANTOUL -- The on-again, off-again Run or Dye Race is back on, just not in Champaign. Race officials announced Wednesday they have a permit with Rantoul. The race takes place October 11 at the Rantoul Aviation Center.

Organizers also say, if you registered for Run or Dye, in Champaign, you're automatically registered for this race. If you don't want to take part, you can get a refund. Champaign city leaders say they're still open to hosting a run, but organizers must follow the proper procedure to schedule it.
Latest: 10:01 pm, 4/22/14, Tuesday
CHAMPAIGN -- Excitement has turned into disappointment and frustration. Monday, it was discovered the Run or Dye 5K race was in question. Now, it's been canceled. WCIA-3 Gary Brode finds out what racers do next.

Anyone who signed up and paid can get a refund.

Race CEO Jake Ackerman says, "If everyone wants to get their money back, we will give them their money back."

Still, some runners aren't happy.

"At this point, I just want my money back and lesson learned, I guess. Never sign up for anything like this again," says Laurie Coates.

Coates is one of about 4,000 who signed up for Run or Dye.

"I paid out $50."

It's a 5K where people have dye thrown on them during the race. The company was given the go-ahead from the city of Champaign in October to promote the race. Via Skype, Ackerman says he thought they had a permit.

"It seemed like we were 'all systems go' until about a month ago and then the technicality. We were advised that because of this needing to have a club affiliation or a not-for-profit we couldn't get a permit until then," say Jake Ackerman.

Much of the race course went through the UI. The university doesn't let for-profit groups use its property for profit. On March 6, Run or Dye was told it needed to find a new spot.

"The message that is being delivered to us is they were sorry this snafu is going to prevent May tenth from happening," says Ackerman.

The organization gave some warning on its Facebook page, but apparently, not enough.

"They made me believe it was still going to be in Champaign. It would just be a different spot than what they originally planned."

Run or Dye tried to move to Rantoul. Again, no go. So why keep taking registration money?

"For them to keep on collecting money, is wrong," Coates says.

Ackerman is still hopeful the run will make its way to its original destination another day.

"From the sounds of it, we may still be able to put something together with Champaign. We're working proactively with Champaign County."

But Coates isn't interested.

"I completely think it's a scam. They've lied to us this long. I don't trust them to find another place for another day."

Run or Dye will meet with Rantoul officials Wednesday morning to discuss a possible run in the fall.

To receive a refund, click here.
Update: 2:22 pm, 4/22/14, Tuesday
Caroline Baumgartner, Senior Account Executive of Motion PR, issued this statement in response to our story:
        Run or Dye is committed long-term to Illinois and our loyal audience of
        amazing and colorful people. We intend to return to the Champaign area
        year after year as long as our runners want us back and are committed to
        making the event as amazing as it would be anywhere else. We hope our
        efforts to forge lasting relationships with municipalities, vendors, businesses,
        and local non-profits that benefit the local community will continue for years
        to come.

        Several months ago, we received authorization to open registration for our
        event in Champaign, Illinois. We were ensured and confirmed that we were
        a go for May 10th, 2014. A few weeks ago, we received notification from the
        City of Champaign that there was a problem with our permitting process due
        to a technicality. Since learning about the problem, we have worked around
        the clock with City and University officials to resolve it, including flying to
        Champaign and meeting locally to find a resolution. We are continuing to
        work with officials, and have been exhaustively working on alternative plans,
        dates and venues in or near Champaign.

        Despite our attempts to resolve concerns, Run or Dye officials were notified
        recently that no resolution for a permit with the City of Champaign would be
        possible for May 10th of this year. We have continued to work to identify an
        alternative date in collaboration with the City. We have been also been
        working with the nearby city of Rantoul to reschedule the event, which we
        are excited about. We hope to announce the new date in the next few days,
        after we receive final approvals.

        In rare circumstances when there are changes to an event, it is very
        important to us to make sure the information is reliable, correct and final
        information before we inform the public -- otherwise, it creates a lot of
        confusion for the folks that mean the most to us, our runners. While we
        never anticipate such problems to arise, and it is very rare that they do, our
        first commitment is always our obligation to our customers. As a standard
        business practice, we always issue refunds to those who are unable to
        attend any events rescheduled for non-weather related reasons.
        We sincerely apologize for the confusion and frustration, which we
        understand completely. We will update our runners via email and Facebook
        with a new date and route in the next couple of days.
Original: 10:32 pm, 4/21/14, Monday
CHAMPAIGN -- A national 5K is set to come to Champaign or is it? It's called Run or Dye; a popular race where people get colored chalk thrown at them while they run.

They're advertising one in Champaign on May 10, but now it's looking more likely that's not the case. The group is still taking registrations, but there's no permit, no race site and, at this point, really no city. Yet, the website still looks as if it's going to happen and people could be out some money.

"I was kind of looking forward to it. It was something different."

Matt Stuckey signed up for this Run or Dye color run more than seven months ago. As the event got closer to race day, he noticed some things didn't add up.

"I've been waiting for my packet in the mail like they said they were going to a couple of weeks before, and I talked to my friends and they said they started hearing rumors that it wasn't going to be here. It wasn't going to be in Champaign. It wasn't happening at all."

He wasn't the only one. People have been posting on the company's Facebook wall for weeks, wanting answer but getting no response.

"There are still numerous comments of people saying, 'Is this going to Rantoul? I've heard this isn't coming here, I've heard it's not happening,' and there is still no answer from them."

A closer look at the map on the website is supposed to be the race course, but it's not even a map of Champaign. Confused, Stuckey says he talked to Champaign police about it.

"When I talked to the police officer, he said that they started to direct them to somewhere closer, so everybody can still do this who signed up and continue to sign up so they sent them to the village of Rantoul."

Rantoul Mayor Charles Smith says he met with Run or Dye officials last week to talk about a site for the race. Smith says it could happen in Rantoul but definitely not on May 10.

The website says there won't be refunds but Stuckey says he got an email the company would look into it.

"If they have been this shady about it up to this point, I don't see them returning money to anybody at all."

He warns anyone still thinking of signing up for the event.

"Don't do it. Nobody's got a straight answer on this."

It costs anywhere from $30 - 50 to sign up for the race but it's not just the sign up fee. Runners like to buy costumes for this event which can cost a pretty penny.

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