19 Investigates: Mud Run participants left with nowhere to run - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Mud Run participants left with nowhere to run

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When Northern Kentucky mom Colleen Thomas realized she could cross a 'mud run' off of her bucket list, she immediately signed up for the Great American Mud Run in southeast Ohio scheduled to take place in September.

"It was something I always thought would be kind of fun to do. A friend of mine saw it and pointed it out, and I thought it would be fun to get involved in," Thomas said.

She began training immediately, turning playtime with her 18-month-old toddlers into workouts.  Thomas said she was ready for the race when just days beforehand, she received a text from a friend telling her the event was canceled.

"I was really upset. So mad. Really mad," Thomas said.

And Thomas isn't alone. She soon learned Great American Mud Runs were also canceled in Columbus, Pennsylvania, Texas and Tennessee. The company's website is temporarily shut down. 

The charity slated to benefit from the events, Wounded Wear, provides clothing for veterans.  Their website posted a disclaimer that they aren't affiliated with the Great American Mud Run. 

Thousands of runners, like Thomas, lost their registration fees of between $65 and $89.

Cincinnati Better Business Bureau President Jocile Ehrlich recommends doing your homework on both the charity and the for-profit companies that run events like this. 

She adds, "If you decide to enter, pay by credit card then you have the ability to dispute this charge on your credit card."

As for Thomas, she's cleaning up her bucket list which no longer includes a mud run. FOX19's Amy Wagner asked Thomas, "So you're going to change your bucket list now?"  Thomas replied, "Yes, I am. I am. It's a different bucket list now."

Great American Mud Run isn't available for comment.  However in an email to participants, the company explained they spent too much money on up-front costs like advertising and simply ran out of funding for their actual events. 

They said they will try to refund some of the registration fees, but Colleen Thomas hasn't received even a dollar back. 

Copyright 2013 WXIX. All rights reserved.

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