We have received many questions and comments from participants following the cancellation of the 2018 Monterey Bay Half Marathon, scheduled for Sunday, November 11, due to unhealthy air quality. Below you’ll find answers to the most common questions we’ve received. If you have a specific issue or question not addressed on this page, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why did you cancel the race on Saturday afternoon?
The air quality in the Monterey Bay area had not been severely affected by the Camp Fire in Butte County (more than 100 miles away) in the days leading up to race and was much better than the air quality in the Bay Area, for example. Even on Saturday morning, the day before the race, we held our By-the-Bay 3K and Pacific Grove Lighthouse 5K with no issues. However, Saturday afternoon, the National Weather Service and other monitoring sites indicated wind patterns were going to shift Saturday night through Sunday morning and would blow the smoke into our area with unhealthy to very unhealthy air conditions forecasted for race time. After consulting with our medical director, we decided to cancel the event for the safety of the participants, volunteers, and spectators. The mission of the Big Sur Marathon Foundation is to promote health. The updated conditions forecast for race day did not suit the mission of our organization.
I thought your race policy was no deferrals?
Yes, that is a practice across the running industry for those whose individual circumstances prevented them from participating after they registered. However, since we cancelled the race for health and safety reasons for a situation out of our control, we did want to offer the opportunity to run a future race at no charge.
I know you have given us several options but can I just get a refund of my entry fee instead?
We’re sorry but entry refunds are not available. Even though the race was not held, we still have to pay about 90% of expected race expenses including your shirt, medal, custom bib, data entry, and race infrastructure (tents, tables, fencing, security, trucks, etc.). We are a non-profit foundation and our board has decided to dip into our reserve fund to make the deferment or donation options available.
Do you plan to reschedule the race for another time?
No, we will not be creating a new replacement event. The next Monterey Bay Half Marathon will be Sunday, November 10, 2019.
Did the race have cancellation insurance?
No. We are a non-profit and we are self-insured using a reserve fund built up through years of sound fiscal management to cover extraordinary circumstances such as these. Our temperate coastal climate also means far fewer concerns about inclement weather. California has been hit with some extraordinary fires recently so additional insurance is something we will review.
I purchased Booking Protect when I registered. Can I file a claim for a refund?
No. Booking Protect is an optional third-party insurance policy that covers the cost of your race entry for many personal situations like illness or injury. It does not cover event cancellation.
I understand and support the difficult decision you had to make. I don’t want your organization to worry about deferring my entry or incurring more expenses with a donation. What if I want to choose “none of the above”?
Just let our registrar Sally Smith know if you don’t want additional funds to be spent or to defer to another year by emailing her at email@example.com. She will take you off the list so you won’t keep receiving reminder emails to make a selection.
I’m not sure about what year I may want to come back to run another race. Why do I need to let you know so quickly?
We can accommodate your choice at any time but having an estimate on how many entry spots to set aside for the 2019, 2020, and 2021 Monterey Bay Half Marathons helps us plan how many other entry slots may be available to the general public.
We also want to provide a donation to a Northern California Fire Relief fund as soon as possible to help those affected by the Camp Fire in Butte County.
Besides the runners, who else was affected by the cancellation?
We had more than 1,000 volunteers lined up to help race day from more than 50 different local non-profit groups and scores of military volunteers from the Defense Language Institute. We also had scheduled more than a dozen area musicians and groups including the light and laser show in the tunnel, several cheer teams, a youth jazz band, the Taiko Drummers, etc. More than 40 elite athletes were hoping to compete for a share of the $30,000 prize purse. Some top U.S. runners also hoped to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. We also had many volunteers, vendors, suppliers, and contractors that had their teams and equipment ready to install early race morning to close the streets, supply the aid stations, install mile markers, time the finishers, provide the awards, and serve the post-race refreshments. As the saying goes, it takes a village to put on a major race and thousands of people were affected beyond the runners.
Tell me more about the Monterey County non-profit groups that would receive donations if I choose that option?
Each year, the Monterey Bay Half Marathon provides more than $80,000 in grants to local non-profit organizations that make the race possible through their volunteers. Many of these groups depend on this donation to fund their important programs, events, and services. We will still be providing donations to all of these groups and will provide additional support based on the number of runners who choose this option. For a complete listing of the groups we support, click HERE.
I want to defer to a future Monterey Bay Half Marathon but I also want to do the Ocean View Challenge and run the 5K the day before. How will that work?
You can indicate your interest in doing the Ocean View Challenge when you select your deferred race option. We will be following up when the registration period begins with details on how to add the 5K (which will be an additional cost).
How is your staff and committee handling all of this?
This is difficult and disappointing to all of us as well. We have worked for many months to provide a beautiful race-day experience for all of our entrants and volunteers. Many things race weekend did go well and as scheduled including the race expo, clinics, and the Saturday morning By-the-Bay 3K and Pacific Grove Lighthouse 5K. We were on track for a great half marathon Sunday morning as well. But, like you, we try to keep everything in perspective. We have had a successful race for 15 years and hope to have many more.
If I still have questions, who should I contact?
For questions about registration, deferrals, etc., please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For general race questions, please email email@example.com. To reach the race director Doug Thurston, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, give us a call during normal business hours (Pacific Time) at 831-625-6226 or stop by our office at The Barnyard shopping center in Carmel.
Thank you again for your patience and consideration.