The path to acquiring the Shawnee Marathon was an uphill climb to say the very least.
As you have probably heard by now, the Shawnee Marathon is under new management for 2016 and moving forward. Run To Succeed Race Management and Timing Company and River to River Runners Timing Services have jointly taken over the race. In the interest of transparency with our participants, we want to share the journey that began during the Shawnee Marathon in 2015.
Both timing companies previously mentioned were booked to time the 2015 Marathon. We upheld our end of the deal. It was the first time out of the events three year history that either company was hired for timing services. It was instantly noticeable that the organization and management of the race was lackluster at best. Rebecca, who had been the race director from the beginning was difficult to find throughout the day when questions and/or needs arose. Several comments were made during the event that it was speculated she had left and went home.
We also learned that it was Rebecca’s intent to end her tenure as the Shawnee Marathon race director effective that day at the race conclusion. Rebecca was planning to move out of Illinois all together and inquired as to whether either timing company had an interest in taking over the marathon.
Once the race had concluded, Rebecca began providing us with all of the course marking signs, several cases of water, paper cups, several jugs of energy drink powder and more. At this point in time, neither company had agreed to take over the marathon, but it was blatantly obvious that she was finished with it and had no intent of a 2016 return.
After a few weeks had passed, we had still not received any form of payment for our timing services. The race was chip timed and there were multiple costs involved. I was able to make contact with Rebecca via telephone who had already moved to Texas by this time. She assured me that the payment would be placed in the mail the next time she went into town, which she stated would be the following Monday. Payment never arrived.
I again made contact with Rebecca who then informed me that she needed me to send a Paypal request for payment so that she could pay via credit card. I did as she requested and still never received payment. I sent the paypal request multiple times and invoiced her multiple times with past due notices all without response. After a combination of phone conversations, text messages and Facebook Messenger conversations, it became very clear that we were not ever going to get paid for our timing services.
During these same phone calls, Rebecca continued to mention the possibilities of one of our timing companies taking over the marathon for 2016. She even suggested that if we take over the management of the event, that she should receive gratuities moving forward for all of the hard work she put into the event over the years. Obviously, not going to happen!
After much deliberation, we strongly believe the region deserves a marathon and elected to jointly take it over and restore the integrity that the event and all of its participants deserve. We had heard stories about her mismanagement of the event money, multiple unpaid bills from the marathon, participants not receiving finishers medals they were promised and cash awards not getting paid, but decided that even though we were going to have some challenges, the race was worth moving forward on.
During our transition, we had discovered that Rebecca ran a marathon registration promotional discount for $26.20 and a half-marathon promotional discount for $13.10 in 2015 for the 2016 marathon race. We were informed that nearly 100 participants had taken advantage of that opportunity. When I asked Rebecca where the money was at from those registrations, she became angry and told me that she didn’t want us to take over the marathon any longer. Luckily, I was able to get the Shawnee Marathon domain name transferred over to my account before this occurred. We had also requested the list of participants multiple times, but were never provided with it. We were later able to acquire the list in full from Active, which is the platform she had used for the registration process.
Even now, as we are planning and organizing this years marathon, we are still learning of unpaid bills from last year. The porta potty provider was never paid; the Saline County Sheriff’s Department was never paid for traffic control; The Burg Cafe was never paid for the meals they provided the day before the race; several pieces of apparel, merchandise and giveaways were designed and never paid for; and the list goes on.
Despite all of the challenges we have faced, we are excited about the possibilities and looking forward to growing the marathon to new levels making it a nationally recognized destination race. We realize that we are not perfect and there will be some mistakes made. This is a transition year for us as we look forward to a fresh start in 2017 with no remnants of the previous race director and her lack of integrity remaining.
We ask that you be patient and understand the hand that we were dealt. We are making every effort to make the Shawnee Marathon the premier marathon in the region.