Extreme race organisers pledge refunds for cancelled event

The organisers of Northumberland's first 10K obstacle course race the Norse Challenge 10K will issue refunds for the cancelled event

Druridge Bay beach in Northumberland where competitors were to wade through the sea
Druridge Bay beach in Northumberland where competitors were to wade through the sea

Organisers of an ‘extreme’ obstacle course challenge, cancelled at the last minute because of the rain, last night said refunds would be paid and free places offered at a rescheduled event.

The Norse Challenge 10K was due to take place at Druridge Bay Country Park in Northumberland on Sunday but was cancelled at the 11th hour after many of the participants had already arrived.

The organisers have faced an angry backlash on social networking website Facebook, with hundreds posting on the site and claims of competitors facing lengthy queues to get into the park and further delays once there.

The challenge should have seen people wade in the North Sea, climb towering hay bales and launch themselves down a 150ft mud slide. It was billed as “Northumberland’s first 10k obstacle race” and garnered interest from around the country.

But heavy rain early on Sunday saw organisers seek safety advice throughout the morning of the event. At 11am, it was decided to cancel in the interests of competitors’ welfare.

Northumberland-based Steve Cowell, who organised the event with fellow extreme running enthusiast Keith Turner, last night said: “We are as disappointed as all the competitors that have come up to support us, paid their entry fee and travelled vast distances.”

Mr Cowell said there had been competitors who had completed the course unofficially and had “enjoyed” it. The event is being rescheduled with a likely date of September 8 with free entry to anyone who paid for Sunday’s event.

Alternatively, people can claim refunds via the PayPal or Groupon websites they paid through. On the event’s Facebook page, over 290 people commented on a post by organisers which was later removed. A later post drew 74 comments. Site users were critical of the organisation of the event.

So too was Gemma Brady who contacted The Journal to complain about the challenge, which she labelled an “absolute sham”.

She described it as a “complete waste of a day, sat in queuing traffic to get on site for over an hour, stood in queues in rain for over an hour to be told it was cancelled. No refunds or assistance given, everyone just turned away.”

Mr Cowell last night responded: “We do recognise there are other issues but we will be looking at those and sorting them out for our next event. We did have queues.”

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