Sheboygan race future still uncertain
SHEBOYGAN- Tourism leaders in Sheboygan were approached by a company called 'Rapid Running' about hosting a half-marathon along the city's streets. The city, however, never gave permission to host the event. Tourism officials say the company never asked for it.
"We were told that, 'Oh, no! We'll get all of that done. We'll get it in.' And that's the reason we sent such detailed directions with deadlines, and nothing happened," Sheboygan's tourism director Amy Wilson told TODAY'S TMJ4.
This isn't the first time this company has had problems. The New York Attorney General's office warned Wisconsin leaders about a botched race in Buffalo.
Runners there never received refunds because Rapid Running postponed the event indefinitely.
"It was really shocking, and then to come in an email with an explanation that made no sense -- something about too many runners or something -- it was very frustrating," explained Sharon Linstedt, who lost more than $80 in registration fees.
An investigation by the local district attorney found -- as in Sheboygan -- the company "took few, if any steps necessary for such an event before cancelling it, for example obtaining the necessary permits."
"From that day one, that's when we started heavy contact and really monitoring this," Wilson explained.
The contact stopped. City leaders maintain deadlines were never met. Facing potential legal action, the company removed official Sheboygan logos from its website after TODAY'S TMJ4 broke the story Wednesday night.
Managers at Blue Harbor Resort -- which booked a contract for rooms with Rapid Running -- haven't heard from the company in a while.
"We don't have any rooms reserved for the event, so I'm not sure what's happening at this point," said general manager David Sanderson.
In the end, competitors are concerned they could be getting the run-around. Runner Peter Matthias hopes something can be done, especially with the high interest for a hometown race.
"My friends and people that haven't run half-marathons in a while have been signing up already," he said.
ALERT: Sheboygan officials are now asking runners to refrain from registering until the company submits the necessary paperwork to host the event.
Stay tuned to TODAY'S TMJ4 for the latest developments.