Less than three weeks before the Idaho Wine Run half-marathon in Kuna, the run sponsor announced it’s going out of business.
Wayne Ebenroth, owner of Final Kick Events, announced Monday in a blog post that the company is shutting down. Ebenroth said his company, which had operated since 2011, has $60,000 in debts and only $74 in the bank.
“This was not an easy or simple decision to make,” Ebenroth wrote. “I have directed 68 races under the Final Kick name and watched people cross our finish lines about 40,000 times.”
Several people who commented on Final Kick’s Facebook page said they would dispute the charges for upcoming races they had paid to enter. Ebenroth, who could not be reached Tuesday morning, said on his blog that he would not be issuing refunds.
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Boise resident Shawnee Perdue, who was signed up for the Idaho Wine Run 10 kilometer race, told the Idaho Statesman that she received an email Tuesday morning announcing the closure. She said it appeared from comments on Final Kick’s Facebook page that they were still accepting registrations as late as last week.
Perdue, a Boise business lawyer, said that shutting down a business does not happen overnight. “You are well aware of the issues for a good period of time,” she said.
As the mother of a toddler, Perdue said she has been using races such as the Idaho Wine Run to “keep me accountable” for staying in shape.
“Obviously, this is not the end of the world, but I was using this run as another goal milestone, and it’s disappointing that it’s canceled,” she said.
Nampa resident Heather Reeves wrote on Final Kick’s Facebook page that she paid for the Wine Run last week.
“I hate to see any business fold, especially a small one, but I feel like he knew I was not going to get to run the race and he took my payment anyway,” Reeves wrote.
Final Kick sponsored six races this year: the Happy Hangover run on New Year’s Day and Run 4 Luv in February, both in Boise; the Shamrock Shuffle in Kuna in March; the Lake Lowell Marathon in Nampa in April; the Firecracker Frolic on the 4th of July in Boise; and the Freakin’ Fast Half Marathon in Horseshoe Bend in July.
The Wine Run was scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 8., at Indian Creek Winery. Two other races were scheduled for later this year: the Monster Mash Dash in October in Caldwell, and the Struttin’ for Stuffin’ Half Marathon in November in Nampa. All have been canceled.
Alison Recchia HIlyard said she ran in the Firecracker Frolic and still has not received her race medal.
“Now I find out we get nothing,” she wrote on Final Kick’s Facebook page.
Organizing marathons is a tough business, said Jeff Ulmer, executive director of the City of Trees Marathon Association, a 17-year-old Boise nonprofit organization that sponsors the City of Trees Marathon, the Fit for Life Half Marathon and the Les Bois 10k, among others.
“If you make one costly mistake, you have to wait basically a whole year to fix it,” Ulmer told the Statesman. “You can’t bite off more than you can chew, you can’t over-promise and you have to be aware of your limitations.”
It’s unclear whether times from the Freakin’ Fast will be accepted for racers who qualified for the New York Marathon and other races.
“That’s a complicated one,” Ebenroth wrote in his blog. “The short answer is submit it and cross your fingers or make sure you have a backup qualifier if you want to be 100 percent sure.”