Cancellation, cont'd cont'd

[March 23, 2020] Dear Seneca7 participants,

You've heard from Jackie, now it's time to hear from me. She is the kind, compassionate one and I tend to toe a much harder line.

My letter to you is in response to the intense negativity currently happening on the Seneca7 social media and in our inboxes. The great majority of you have been thoughtful, understanding, and kind, even those doing this race for the first time. We have been touched and moved by your messages (and choices) beyond words. This is a very difficult time and cancelling the Seneca7 was a terrible day for all of us. If it hasn't become clear over the last ten years, this race and your experience means something to us. It means a lot.

Then there's the other side of humanity. It's small in number but relentless in volume and rage. To you nothing short of a full refund or en masse deferral to next year are acceptable.

Let me start with the basics. We did not choose to cancel the Seneca7. As a result of current State and City policies, we were forced to. Every event in New York State (and most other places in the world) have been cancelled. No one chose this.

We have already spent more than 2/3 of your entry fee. If you don't want to take my word for it, this article does a nice job of shedding light on the realities of race management (it's from New Zealand but I've been directing races for 20 years and it's exactly the same situation here):

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=12317681

If you choose to not read the article, let me summarize. This is our job but it's way more than that. We spend a year (yes, a year) planning for a safe, enjoyable, responsible race and we trust it will happen. We buy things, get permits, organize logistics, recruit volunteers, and do every one of the other thousand tasks to ensure that your 24 hours in Geneva are the best they can be. That doesn't happen overnight.

Because of this, our race waiver says "In cases of inclement weather, natural disaster, acts of God, acts of war, or other unforeseen extraordinary circumstances, Event Organizers reserve the right to cancel the event and/or modify the race course for safety concerns. Under such circumstances, there will be no refunds or transfer of entries to future events. Each athlete must accept any such risk of their entry fee paid."

You all signed it. But we chose to ignore it when formulating our cancellation policies because we do care about you and we recognize these are unprecedented times. We know you are suffering, too.

Yet still we receive threats of attorneys and harassing messages by the hour. To some of you our response has been "totally unacceptable."

We don't have the possibility of postponing the race (there are no dates when that can happen and we have spent the last week checking) and we don't have another race we can put you in, because we don't run any other races. What would happen if we rolled every entry into next year's event? Simply put, the Seneca7 would no longer happen. We couldn't pay for it. It would end.

If you absolutely must have that option to make yourself and your team whole, we will allow you to do that because you matter to us. Just email us (without the nastiness) and tell us that is what you would like. We are not uncaring or unresponsive people. Just know we have not arrived at our decisions lightly and your choices do have consequences... not just for us but for this race, this region, the charities we support, our volunteers, local businesses, and the entire Geneva community.

sincerely,
Jeff (and JAckie)

 

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