Screw You, AIDS Project L.A.

Not because you’re fighting AIDS- I’m down with that.

I’m talking about your totally bullshit “Concrete Hero” race and the complete bullshit that goes along with it.

I run obstacle races. They’re fun. I intersperse my “real” runs like Tough Mudder and Spartan with the “fun” runs like Warrior Dash and Gladiator, and everybody has a good time. So when APLA advertised all over Facebook for their “Concrete Hero” race, I signed up for it. Downtown LA. Los Angeles-themed obstacles. Good cause. What’s not to like?

I’ll tell you what’s not to like. What’s not to like is being cold-called by “coaches” to “help” me with training… oh, and fund-raising.

Yep, once a week I get a phone call during working hours. And wow, they’re excited to help me train.

“What’s that? You run these sorts of things all the time? Well, since you’ve got that covered, let me coach you through some fund-raising!!!”

“Hey man, I’m at work here.”

“You can’t spend half an hour at work talking about how to meet your minimum fundraising goal? But… you want to compete in the race, don’t you?”

“Of course I do- that’s why I paid my entry fee. Wait… my WHAT!!!”

Yep. Turns out that my entry fee earns me nothing more than the right to pester my friends and family for four hundred bucks.

No 400 bucks in pledges collected before the event, no running in the event. And, adding insult to injury- the entry fee doesn’t even count toward the “goal.” So my “entry fee” isn’t really an entry fee, now is it?

Now you’ve got my money, and now I don’t get to run. I planned my weekend around your race, I paid my entry fee, but I don’t get to enter your race, and you get to keep my fee, because I didn’t allow you access to my friends’ checkbooks.

You know what? Fuck you, APLA. If the “entry fee” you’re charging doesn’t break you even on a per-competitor basis, then charge a higher entry fee. If you want each competitor running to generate “x” amount of money for your charitable work, then charge entry fee plus x. People will still run the race, and you’ll get your money- everybody wins, right? Well, not if you want to collect smaller chunks of money and not have to work for it.

In short, APLA took my money and gave me nothing in return. Go fuck yourselves. That’s the most underhanded bullshit I’ve seen in a long time.

I’m guessing you forgot to read the fine print?

Maybe but reading over the website it looks like they buried pretty deep.

On the one hand, the main Concrete Hero website does not make very clear at all that every participant is required to collect $400. It’s in there, but it’s not exactly obvious. They should be much clearer, up front, about what is required.

On the other hand, both of the registration forms (the online one, and the mail-in one) do make it pretty clear.

From the online registration:

And from the mail-in registration:

It’s not quite clear to me how you could have missed those when you registered.

. . . which is exactly what charities are for. Too bad you can’t run. Too bad you planned your entire weekend around the race. Too bad you don’t feel like raising the money.

But maybe your 30 bucks will help someone. It’s not about you.

It’s pretty standard for fundraising events. I raised $3750 in order to run the Boston Marathon to benefit a group after also paying all the entry fees. You may have a complaint about the information not being front and center, but it clearly was present and you didn’t read it.

I can understand a bit of your frustration, but your expectations are unrealistic and your outrage is misplaced. It’s a poor rant; I give it a 1.5/10.

Not returning the entry fee is pretty shitty. The ‘oh, but we’re a charity’ is a shitty reason to keep funds. Yeah, technically they can rest on the ‘but we told you ahead of time’ line, but that kind of crap is terrible PR, and a practice I’d expect from a Louis DePalma, not a charity.

That is pretty underhand.

Almost as annoying as certain “friends” wanting you to “sponsor” them so they can

-run a marathon
-walk the Andes
-climb Kilimanjaro
-sail round the world

Or whatever thing they want to do for their own gratification but can’t be arsed to stump up the cash out of their own pocket and so cover it with a veil of charity respectability.

Gonna have to agree with that. It’s getting harder and harder for organizations to raise funds. I agree they should have been a bit more forthright about the commitment, but the whole point of doing a race for charity is… charity. Would it really kill you to raise $400 for the run? I’m guessing you can do it in no more than 10 phone calls. Heaven forfend you be put out on account of people dying of AIDS.

Not to threadshit, but the $400 fundraising requirement is about three inches down on the paper registration form, and on the very first page of the online registration form.

That being said, I think it is BS that the organization would refuse to refund the entry fee. I think the OP would be more than justified in elevating this issue to whomever is actually managing the race.

I’d actually like to hear that request. I didn’t read the forms I filled out, I ignored or shut down all the volunteers who called to try and assist me and now when the race is 5 days away I realize that I need to fundraise in order to run in a charity race and I don’t want to. Please give me my money back.

ETA: It’s not clear that the OP actually asked for a refund yet, it sounds more like he’s assuming he won’t get one.

A couple of things:

First, I don’t expect my money back. I’m not going to ask for my money back. It’s a couple of bucks, it’s for a good cause (if the execution is flawed), and I would probably not put the money to as good a use as they would.

Second, the idea that I don’t want to fundraise is both true and not true, and each of these are a bit uncalled for. I fundraise for certain causes and charities; I’m disinclined to risk burnout of what personal and institutional services I might have on this particular race. Would it kill ME? No. Would it kill my ability to raise money for other events and charities? Yep.

Yep. Forgot to read the fine print. Which is another reason why I wouldn’t make any stink about it to them. They did, after all, tell me, and in the end, being out the money is nobody’s fault but mine.
My point is not “I don’t get to run the race and that’s bad.” Well, maybe that’s A point, but it’s a secondary point to “If you want to raise X dollars per entrant, make the entry fee X dollars per person, with an offset for donations, and maybe be a little more upfront about it.”

I mean, sell spectator tickets for 35 bucks. Or sell spectator tickets for 50 bucks and gimme an 8-dollar t-shirt. But don’t call something an “entry fee” if paying the fee doesn’t get you entry.

Or you could read things and not bother joining something when it clearly states you’re expected to fundraise 400 dollars.

Yeah, that too.

Let’s say some fancy run/whatever event has a 40 dollar entrance fee. And a thousand particpants. And on top of that they want or require the person participating to go around asking for donations for charity cause X.

IMO that 40 thousand dollars from the entrance fee better pay for all or come pretty darn close to paying for all the expenses of the event.

I don’t mind giving to charities. I don’t even mind friends/neighbors/coworkers asking me nicely to donate to one.

But I ain’t paying for you to do something cool under the guise of it being a charity. Please pay for your own darn recreation thank you very much.

It’s going to be sad when you get AIDS and they’re $400 short of finding the cure for you.

excerpt from Bob Ducca’s Tales of Irony

Your snarky admonition about the value of reading things is hilarious given the post directly above it.

I readily admit to lol’ing.

“I thought I was signing up to run a race. I support your cause, but I didn’t intend to sign up to have annoying telemarketing-like calls at work. The zealousness with which your coaches have approached their task has crossed a line, and I want to withdraw from the race and get a refund.”

You mean the post where you tried to come up with a halfway plausible justification for not bothering to fundraise for the fundraiser you signed up for? No, I read it. I simply wasn’t persuaded by it.

Would not fuck?