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Charleston’s angered Dirty Girl registrants will get refunds, W.Va. A.G. says

By Rachel Molenda, Staff writer

Refunds will be issued to registrants of Charleston’s Dirty Girl Mud Run, according to a news release from the Attorney General’s Office.

Eventbrite — the ticketing company used for the event — will refund registration fees, the release states.

“Despite reports that another entity was providing refunds to participants, only Eventbrite is confirmed to be providing registrants refunds as this time,” according to the release.

Jeff Suffolk, president of Human Movement Management, called the Gazette-Mail Friday afternoon and told a reporter his company and Eventbrite were going to issue the refunds together.

An hour later, Suffolk said the agreement might be off. Suffolk later sent an email to the Gazette-Mail denying that he’d said the group would issue refunds, as well as put on scheduled Dirty Girl runs.

“I never said Human Movement was issuing refunds,” Suffolk wrote. “And I did not say that we were putting on all of the remaining races.”

Another group, Obstacle Racing Media, posted the news on its Facebook page that all participants in the canceled Charleston run would get refunds.

100 LLC, the company that owns the Dirty Girl Mud Run, contracted with Eventbrite for its event registration, the Attorney General’s Office wrote.

If registrants didn’t purchase their tickets through Eventbrite, they should file a complaint with the attorney general, spokeswoman Beth Ryan said.

Registrants can call the office at 1-800-368-8808 or file a complaint online.

Women who registered for the Dirty Girl Mud Run might still get to run somewhere else. Obstacle race and adventure companies are extending a hand to those left in the lurch, by offering free or discounted entry to their events.

ACE Adventure Resort, in Minden, Fayette County, is hosting the Gritty Chix Mud Run, said event director and spokeswoman Brandi Warwick.

“We’re doing this simply as a reason to give back, because it’s something that we’ve wanted to do for a while,” Warwick said. “We have the infrastructure in place to be able to hold something like this.”

Warwick said ACE is planning to host the female-only 5-kilometer run on Saturday, Aug. 2, and the first 500 registrants from Charleston’s canceled Dirty Girl Mud Run are invited to participate for free. Women will need to pre-register by calling 304-469-2651. Those participants also must bring proof of their Dirty Girl registration to the event, Warwick said.

The run will be $25 for new participants and those who don’t get one of the first 500 free slots. Registration begins at 11 a.m. The run starts at 1 p.m.

Warwick said 100 percent of the registration fee and any donations will go to a local cancer charity that was in the process of being chosen Friday by coordinators.

“Everybody’s lost somebody to cancer,” Warwick said. “It’s a charity that’s close to anyone’s heart, of course.”

The Color Vibe is offering a 50 percent discount to women registered for the canceled Charleston run. A representative of the company said those who wish to receive a registration discount for its Sept. 20 run in Charleston should email their Dirty Girl confirmations to support@thecolorvibe.com by Aug. 16. A Color Vibe representative said the Utah-based run is not affiliated with Dirty Girl owner 110 LLC or production company Human Movement Management.

Additionally, the Pretty Muddy Women’s Mud Run is offering free admission to those registered in Charleston. The company’s run is set for Sept. 20 in Richmond, Virginia, according to a news release from Pretty Muddy.

Participants who wish to run in Richmond can bring their Dirty Girl confirmation email and a picture ID on the day of the event. For more information, email info@prettymuddy.com.

The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau issued a warning for “fun runs” after receiving 47 complaints about the cancellation of Charleston’s run.

Dirty Girl Mud Run has a D+ rating with the Wisconsin BBB. Many of the 34 complaints filed specifically against the company show that registrants were upset that their races were advertised as taking place in one city — notably Raleigh, North Carolina, and Columbus, Ohio — but were then moved to locations two or more hours away several months after participants signed up.

The Dirty Girl Mud Run in Charleston was officially canceled Tuesday after Park Tours, a shuttle company hired to transport participants to the event, did not receive payment by 4:30 p.m.

City officials and the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau learned the race was in jeopardy after Human Movement Management made them aware of financial issues between itself and 100 LLC.

100 LLC also has not paid the remainder of a $10,000 deposit to the city of Charleston to secure the site and pay for associated costs.

Things didn’t look promising for runners after 100 LLC announced on its Facebook page Wednesday that it wouldn’t issue refunds “under any circumstances” for the canceled race. Several hundred people commented on the post, calling Dirty Girl a thief, “a dirty business” and chastising it for deleting its first Facebook post related to the Charleston event, which reportedly had close to 1,000 negative comments attached to it.

The Attorney General’s Office received more than 250 complaints “alleging the no-refund policy violated the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act,” the news release states.

Additionally, a lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Kanawha County Circuit Court over participants not getting their money back. The lawsuit, filed by the law firm Preston and Salango, seeks class-action status.

Ben Salango, an attorney on the case, said Friday that he is pleased that refunds will be given to his clients.

“We’re evaluating our next step,” he said, “and, most likely, the claim will be satisfied.”

Reach Rachel Molenda at rachel.molenda@wvgazette.com, 304-348-5102 or follow @rachelmolenda on Twitter.


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