Blacklight Run Money Scam Berea Ohio
This event is a huge money pit. Firstly, it purports to support charities (such as the Children's Hospital). However, once we arrived, there was no sign, no banner, no mention of any charity it was contributing to. Every single charity event I have ever been to (and even some that weren't) always spent time verbally promoting the charity. There would be banners and signs, and the charity itself would usually have a table set up to answer questsions and give people free pens and whatnot. There was nothing like that here. Blacklight Run was all about themselves.
Their registration process alone is a scam as well. They charge an additional $5 for people to register online. They call it a convenience fee. So people are saving them time and effort and have to pay -more-. Keep that in mind for later. I suppose this might make sense if someone was processing a large group of people--oh wait, you can't do that. You have to register each and every person individually. That means they hit you for a $5 fee extra for every single person you register online. For our group of six, that was $30 additional dollars just for us registering online. Do you believe it's a ripoff yet?
During the time between registering and the event itself, our coordinator got repeatedly spammed with mail on their blacklight gear, trying to convince all of us to spend more money on their site. We saved all emails sent, which comes into play later. But all that spam surely was annoying.
The day of the event comes. We all gather--our member who lives the farthest traveled an hour and a half. We parked off-site and walked in. Thankfully, this saved us the very high $10 parking fee. Once there, we find the registration tent and go to pick up our bib with our ID numbers so we can enter the course. What Blacklight Run failed to tell us during all those spam emails was that someone had to pick up the bibs the previous day--otherwise Blacklight Run would charge another $5 fee per person to pick up their bibs to enter the walk/run that they had already paid for.
Of course, all six of us were baffled by this. The lady we were attempting to register with was curt and cold and repeatedly insisted that we had received one email three weeks ago that explained all this (compared to dozens of spam emails). She flagged her manager over who repeated the same thing. One member of our group pulled out her smart phone and started checking every single email she had received--there was no mention of needing to pick up the entry pack the day before or pay a fee. In addition, as I wrote previously, we live well over an hour away with one member living over an hour and a half from the event. Even if one member of our group were able to drive an hour there and back (despite full time jobs and school) to pick up everyone's pack, the cost in gas to drive a total of two hours would add up. The manager said we could have asked someone in the area to pick up the entry packets for us--we don't know anyone in the area (she had an inhuman lack of empathy). Do you believe this is a ripoff yet?
So our group of six is standing there, very baffled, and the registar looked like she wanted to turn us all away. We had driven a long way to enjoy this event. We had already paid the price to enter, plus the convenience fee for registering online. Now the lady wanted to charge us another $30 ($5 per person) to pick up our entry packet--it was an inconvenience fee since they had to process us with the crowd right there. That's right! They charge you for making things easy on them as well as making things hard on them! It didn't help that we only had our drivers' licenses and had walked 15 minutes to get to the fairgrounds. None of us wanted to carry a lot on the course, and no one was thrilled to go all the way back to the car to get our wallets. So we had no money to pay for the fee after all that travel. Do you believe this is a ripoff yet?
Our one member finally showed the manager our email communications on her smart phone, so the manager coldly, begrudgingly agreed to let us on the course and walked off. The registar got very waspish at this point--to the point of being nasty. She said we had to sign waivers--we pointed out we already had and that she was holding them in her hand. She smacked them down on the table and started going through them. She then said that she only had two waivers and that three people had signed online (only two had signed online), and that I needed to sign a waiver and she flung the clipboard at me. I pointed out that she again had my waiver in her left hand. So she snatched the clipboard back and proceeded to throw our entry packets at us.
In addition to the bib, every entry packet contained a t-shirt. None of us really wanted the t-shirts. However, there is no way to register for this event without buying a t-shirt. Blacklight Run is charging people for products they don't even want! Do you believe it's a ripoff yet?
We milled around the concert stage for a while. I will compliment them, the music was good. But again, there was no mention of any charity despite their frequent commercials for their own gear. At last, the event starts, and we're all ushers to the starting line.
That was sheer chaos. They let VIPs through first--I know that makes sense, but it is still ridiculous to even have the concept of VIPs at all for a walk like this. No other walk that anyone in our group has ever done has ever had VIPs. Of course, being a VIP costs money, so this is just another way to scam walkers. It wasn't even well organized at the start. They made no attempt to separate runners and walkers, which made things incredibly frustrating for anyone trying to run, especially for time. They didn't even attempt any traffic organization, such as runners stay to the left. They started people in waves--but no one once even tried to check to make sure we had our bibs. That's right! After all that headache about getting our entry packets and stuff, no one even checked to see if we were properly registered when we entered the course! We could have just been passersby for all they cared.
The course itself was decent, but it had a lot of asphalt and gravel without the transitions being marked, which caused a lot of stumbles and trips. They also had color stations periodically where people would throw colored dust as you walked by. These were places people liked to linger to get more dust on themselves, take pictures under the blacklights, and just catch their breaths--which was dangerous as those who were running didn't want to stop. It all felt disorganized. I suppose I can't complain too much about this as the dust did wash easily out of our bags and hair.
We were walkers, and by the time we had finished, we had plenty of time to discuss all I've typed here. We didn't even stay for the afterparty (and again, no attempt was made to check if people actually had paid to get in or not). We were very disappointed as all Blacklight Run seemed to care about was lining their own pockets. They tried to slam us with $60 in additional fees just to walk a course at a public fairground (so it's not like they had any location overhead to worry about). These fees happened whether you made things easier for them or if you made things harder for them (you know, because checking someone's name off of a list the day of an event is so strenuous). Their entry fee was way too steep for three color stations of cheap powder. And even more disappointing was the lack of promoting for the charities they came to support. We will not be going back. And I hope none of you do either--do you believe it's a ripoff yet?