BALTIMORE - In July, hundreds of women ready to lace up and get dirty in West Virginia say instead, they simply got the runaround.
"To our knowledge, we don't have any information why the races have been canceled. BBB has been trying to get information but the company has not been forthcoming to us, we have not been able to get responses," said Jody Thomas with the Better Business Bureau.
Days before the Dirty Girl Mud Run was set to kickoff in Charleston, West Virginia, the company made a public post saying in part, "While the city of Charleston worked diligently and closely with Dirty Girl Mud Run to take all possible steps to put on the event, it can not be held due to circumstances out of our control." It went on to say that the company "will not be issuing refunds under any circumstances."
"Apparently, this is not something that is unusual for them-- to accept entry fees into events and then cancel the event for one reason or another and then just walk off with the money," said Samantha Spaulding, a participant who signed up for the West Virginia run.
Spaulding has since received a full refund through the company she used to purchase her ticket.
"There are races scheduled upcoming all across the country, so that's where our question is now: what is the status of these other races?" Thomas said.
Dirty Girl's former owners, 100 LLC, were reportedly ready to pack up for good.
"If we're going to stay in this industry for the rest of our lives, this is one of the biggest brands in our industry. If they cancel the rest of their events and don't refund anybody, and the rest of the series is canceled, this is potentially the end of the industry as we know it," said Jeff Suffolk, President of Human Movement.
Jeff Suffolk runs Human Movement. His company has since purchased Dirty Girl's assets, and are running the races from here on out.
"We loved the brand and we knew that they were looking to sell the company or get some help," he said.
He says the runs former owners, 100 LLC, hired Human Movement two years to help build obstacles for the runs, work on promotions, and put on events across the country. Now, 100 LLC is nowhere to be found online.
"We kind of saw the writing on the wall that we were not going to be getting paid for our services any longer. And then we were notified by 100 LLC that the Charleston, WV event was going to be canceled and then all of the rest of the events were going to be canceled from then on out," Suffolk said.
Human Movement released a statement earlier this month, announcing their new ownership and their plans to keep eight of the runs on schedule.
Thursday, 100 LLC came to an agreement with the West Virginia Attorney General's Office. Among other things, the company agrees to "begin making reimbursement of the registration fees." In total, more than $200 thousand of registration fees were returned to runners.
Still, there are seven other races in seven other cities that remain canceled. Human Movement says they took over the company without taking any of the registration money, saying that they are "just trying to do the right thing."
"I'm not worried about it at all," said Bob Egan, President of High Point Farms and Events.
Egan owns the more than 150 acre property scheduled to be transformed into mud pits, obstacles, and muck later this month.
"We're comfortable with this race going off. We had a real blunt conversation with them and I got the answers I wanted to hear," Egan said.
Egan says he's confident with Human Movement and was on the phone with them immediately after hearing what happened in West Virginia. The farm has worked with Human Movement in the past and says the muck with clear and runners will be sloshing through Baltimore this month.
"We were real clear that as long as they were involved and the other organization was not involved and they were taking responsibility, I personally, as the owner of the farm, was comfortable moving forward," Egan said.