Triathlete.com recently reported a suit filed at the end of May against Ironman and the World Triathlon Corporation alleges the company and its subsidiary, Competitor Group, owe athletes refunds for events canceled or postponed due to COVID-19.
“Defendants should not be permitted to force Plaintiff and members of the class to bear the financial burden of the events canceled as a result of COVID-19,” reads the complaint, which was filed in the Middle District of Florida, where Ironman is headquartered.
The complaint was filed on behalf of one athlete, Mikaela Ellenwood, a Colorado resident who had registered for the Rock n’ Roll San Francisco half-marathon, which was scheduled for April 5. She had also purchased flights and accommodations for the event, according to the complaint. When that race was canceled on March 14, registrants had their entries deferred to the next year and were not given the option of a refund.
Ironman officials confirmed that the current policy for COVID-related cancelations or postponements does not include refunds to athletes. (The World Triathlon Corporation operates both Ironman races and Rock n’ Roll marathons and half-marathons, as well as a number of other events around the world. The company typically puts on hundreds of mass participation races.)
As the global pandemic has continued, large mass gatherings and races have been canceled in most countries. The New York Marathon, scheduled for November, was recently canceled.
Ironman officials also confirmed that until an event is officially canceled or postponed, the standard non-COVID cancellation policy is still in place. Those specific policies can vary from race to race, but typically mean an athlete can not transfer or defer without paying a fee or losing a portion of their entry fee, and an athlete can not get a refund unless they’ve purchased registration insurance. That means for athletes waiting to find out if their race is canceled or postponed, there are typically few options. Ironman officials did note, however, they are working with athletes who have travel restrictions across borders preventing them from making it to scheduled races.
Once a race has been officially canceled or postponed, due to concerns around the spread of COVID-19, athletes are then being offered a choice of transferring to another event or deferring to the next year.
Read the full story at Triathlete.com.