Local runners plan 'Homemade Half' event to replace the Rose Half Marathon after sudden cancellation without refunds

Published on Wednesday, 11 October 2017 18:32 - Written by FAITH HARPER, fharper@tylerpaper.com 

Ty Lomas was looking forward to his first half-marathon.

He said the first month of training in May was rough, but as the summer heat set in his body acclimated to it.

By September, his times were improving, and Lomas was excited to see how he performed in the upcoming Rose Half Marathon, which was slated for this weekend.

That race was canceled without notice, and Lomas is out the $75 registration fee.

“Running a half-marathon was something that came across my mind to do,” the 24-year-old Tyler resident said. “You’re young and your body can do so much, so why not push it and see where it goes?”

Four days before the run was to take place, Dallas-based organizers of The Rose Half Marathon and 5K sent runners an email notifying them it was canceled.

There will be no refunds for anyone who signed up, and it appears the company has ceased operations. The company phone line had a recorded message saying the company “has suspended operations and is no longer in business.”

Rose registrants will, however, be mailed the T-shirt and medal, the email reads.

Tyler runners quickly planned a low-key replacement event for disappointed runners.

It’s been dubbed the “Homemade Half.”

“It’s pretty much the opposite of what makes a race a race,” said Cori Moore with Tyler-based iTRI365 Timing and Event Production. “There’s nothing official - run at your own risk, and it’s really a community gathering.”

The groups plan to meet at Rose Rudman Park between 7:30 and 8 a.m. on Sunday. When there are enough runners for a race, it will start, Ms. Moore said. ITRI365 has leftover bibs, medals and freebies from previous events, and it has tents and other things needed for water stations on hand.

Sunday’s gathering will basically be a hodgepodgeof previous ones. Ms. Moore said some runners are donating water and others are volunteering to run the rest stations.

“We'll be throwing together a box of bibs, some tents, some timing, leftover medals and whatever else we can scrounge up to make the best of an unfortunate situation,” according to a Facebook post announcing the Homemade Half. “This isn't an official race. In fact, it's not a race at all. Garmin wars allowed. Cutting the course is allowed. Finishers medals and bibs are whatever you get. Sense of humor is a must. The only guarantee is a good time.”

Lomas said he likely would not attend Sunday’s event, but has his sights on a Nacogdoches half-marathon in early November. If he does well there, he plans to push to compete in a full marathon.

Even with a replacement event, some registered Rose runners took to Facebook to vent their frustrations about the decision to cancel Tyler’s race and the lack of forewarning.

Mellewwas promoting Tyler’s event as late as Tuesday morning with a post on its official page with a link to register for the now-canceled race. That registration page was no longer operational as of 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Some found the post disappointing.

“Seriously? How do you post this the day before you cancel the race?” Megan Riaz posted on the Facebook thread. “You people are the most unorganized race company I have ever seen. You should be ashamed of yourself. I hope you never come back to Tyler.”

With the company out of business, it’s unclear what that means for the upcoming Tyler Azalea 10K and 5K, which is scheduled for March 24. Mellew also organized that race.

The company had races planned through July 2018 across Northeast Texas, and registration for all of them was open at least through Tuesday.

 

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Email sent to race participants:

“Mellew Productions regrets to inform you that the Rose, which was scheduled for October 15, 2017, has been cancelled due to extremely low attendance. Please accept our apologies with regard to this unfortunate matter.

Mellew Productions regrets any inconvenience this may have caused you, even though we tried our best to inform everyone as soon as possible.

Unfortunately there will be no refunds, but your T-shirt and medal will be mailed to you in the next few weeks for all that are registered.

If this is the last leg of your Four Seasons Challenge, we will also mail you that medal to you at the same time. Please email us to let us know if this is the case.

Mellew Productions appreciate your understanding in this matter.”