One of the bigger challenges that we have run into in when moving our event to a virtual event is that the community might feel that we have NO cost for a virtual event, and thus we are lining our pockets. That, of course, couldn't be further from the truth. For an April race, most of the expenses are paid for 2-4 months out, including our shirts and medals, which this year had to be ordered earlier due to the timing of the Chinese New Year and the initial outbreak in China of the coronavirus.
For the Sly Fox Half Marathon 5k and 10k, 85% of our take in revenue has been paid out to: medals, t-shirts, race-day nutrition, aid station supplies, and timing invoices. Also of note is that we rely on the final registration numbers in March to April. These numbers typically are the difference between operating at a break-even point or operating at a loss.
Quite simply, we are a small, local event. I would love to be able to offer full refunds, but it just can’t be possible.
Postponing involves a lot of vendor flexibility. For the Sly Fox, this would require finding new vendors to be available for a new event. It would also require us to re-evaluate site availability. If it was as easy as simply hitting the pause and redo button in the Fall, our team would go that direction. In addition to availability of streets and construction projects, we know that a rescheduled date would not be ideal for all our runners. When factoring in the costs, combined with the probability of reduced participation because of the date change, it would not be economically feasible due to the hard costs associated with putting on a running race.
For Sly Fox, we provide a very good deferral process stated: If you are unable to run outside of the 15-day window, then you could be deferred to the next year’s event. Honestly, there have been several circumstances of abuse of this policy. We looked at our budget and would be losing $10-15 per runner between purchasing more supplies again for 2021. Ultimately, we had to rely on a "no refunds, no transfers, no deferrals, no exceptions" policy.