5K Foam Fest canceled due to organization’s bankruptcy; runners feel robbed

Posted at 5:33 PM, Jul 21, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-22 00:01:56-04

SPANISH FORK, Utah -- Runners are outraged a Utah company took their money then abruptly canceled foam runs in several U.S. cities.

Round House Racing, the company that operates "5K Foam Fest," is based in Spanish Fork. While the company's logo remains on the front door, owner David Ballard wasn't there Wednesday and declined to do an interview with FOX 13.

However, he said over the phone there weren't enough people registering for the races to outweigh the cost of doing the events.

The 5K Foam Fest was discontinued because of the organization went bankrupt, according to the 5K Foam Fest website. The company was no longer in business as of July 17.

Ballard said he's devastated he lost his business while runners say they feel ripped off.

The 5K Foam Fest includes an obstacle course with mud pits, army crawls, massive walls and slip n' slides. Thousands of runners across the country were excited for 2014-15 events.

But Ballard told his landlord in an email: "the race season has really bottomed out and we are being forced to close our doors."

That was written the day before the company cancelled races in 44 cities.

Events in Reno, Grand Rapids and Portland were just days away. Runners who pre-paid up to $100 in registration fees can't get a refund.

"I'm feeling robbed. Had they just canceled for weather or something with a refund, I'd be disappointed. But I'm very angry. I'm mad and it's not just myself, but thousands of people," said Debbie Bartley, a runner from Portland.

So why can't Round House simply refund runners their money?

"The money's not there," Ballard said.

The company said on its website,

"As we face bankruptcy, we ask for your patience and forgiveness ... the 5K Foam Fest  no longer has staff or funds, and will not be able to respond to individual emails or phone calls."

Round House Racing says another company, Red Frog Events, will offer runners free registration in similar races and Round House hopes more event companies can step up in 72 hours to save other races.

But for those who can't get their money back, "Whether it's Utah or out of state, if they wish to file a complaint with our division, we would certainly be happy to look into it with them," said Jennifer Bolton, spokesperson with the Utah Division of Consumer Protection.

Consumer advocates say those who paid with a credit card may have the best luck.

"They can certainly call their bank card company and see what they have to say," Bolton said.

If you call your credit card company, you may be able to cancel the transaction. If you paid by another method, you may be able to recoup the money in bankruptcy proceedings.

Meanwhile, Utah consumer officials can neither confirm nor deny whether an investigation into Round House Racing is underway, but they say they're getting calls from the public.

Also, the Better Business Bureau has put an alert on its website warning consumers that Round House doesn't offer full or partial refunds.

For those who paid to run in the 5K Foam Fest race can file a complaint with the Utah Division of Consumer Protection by logging onto:

Once on the site, follow the link to “file a complaint.”

If anyone has further questions about their case, they can contact the Division of Consumer Protection at 801-530-6601.