We are currently getting quite a lot of enquiries from people asking if they can defer entries for our events to future editions. These are for a wide variety of reasons ranging from holiday plans to injury.
Although the answer is already clear in our terms and conditions, we know that checking small print isn’t something that us humans are particularly predisposed to doing. And the fact that the covid pandemic led to many people having deferred places for events that didn’t happen as originally planned, may also have clouded the issue.
We therefore felt it worth clarifying what the policy is and being fully transparent for the reasoning behind it.
The policy on deferrals has always been:
IF THE EVENT IS HAPPENING ON THE DATE PLANNED, PLACES CANNOT BE DEFERRED TO A FUTURE EDITION OR ANOTHER EVENT.
We do, however, allow places to be transferred to other people until very close to the day of an event. And, in most cases, we offer a refund if someone wishes to cancel a place before the refund deadline is reached for that event (which will be on the race's page on the website if different to our standard conditions).
The reasoning behind the policy is as follows:
Allowing a deferral once the date of and event is fairly close is effectively letting you have two places for the price of one. This is because we’re incurring the costs of putting the event on twice, but you’d only be paying once. Which isn’t really fair on everyone else.
If an event is popular and sells out quickly, allowing deferrals encourages people to buy an option to take part knowing nothing is lost if they later decide not to take part. This can deprive others of a place, and not just this year. It effectively enables you to jump the queue next time when entries open. Again, not really fair on everyone else.
There is cost to us in the extra admin that would be involved in the process, both financially and physically, that we couldn’t afford. Plus, if, for any reason, the event doesn’t happen the following year, it would create a messy situation in our accounts and further exacerbate the problem.
In a nutshell though: (For all the above reasons) there is a real risk that allowing deferrals could quickly put the viability of an event at risk or even bankrupt the whole business.
To pre-empt a few questions that may be in your mind from reading the above.
Why can’t I defer if there are still months to go until the race, as you won’t have incurred your costs?
It is true to say that if it’s far enough in advance we won’t have committed all our costs of putting on the event, although exactly how far out this is the case varies from event to event. It depends on the complexity of the event and the stakeholders/suppliers involved.
This is why for the majority of events we allow you to cancel and get a refund, up until a certain date prior to the event. This allows you to get your money back (minus a fee to cover our costs and admin) and the freedom to enter again next time if you wish.
Can’t you sell my place to someone else if I was allowed to defer?
Yes, we could. However, the extra cost and admin involved would be a distraction from organising the event itself, which becomes the priority in the last few weeks leading up to it. Plus, it’s a risk for us, as the chances of us being able to re-sell the place get smaller as the event gets closer, particularly for longer events.
This is why our events have a transfer policy, which allows you to transfer the place to another runner until very close to the day of the event. We don’t charge any extra for this, but the onus is on the original entrant to find someone to take the place and make the changes to via the entry system. And any financial transaction is between the original entrant and their replacement. This is similar to what you’d expect for tickets to other types of events (concerts, shows, football matches etc).
Other things to consider:
If you’ve got a place in an event and find yourself unable to run there are two other things you may wish to consider.
Firstly, you could apply to join the event team and volunteer at the event instead. This way you could still be involved, learn about the ‘behind the scenes’ aspects of the event, connect with the community and have an enjoyable/rewarding day. Plus, you’d earn credit for a free priority place in a future year, or to use against another Peak Running race/activity – so therefore recoup any financial loss.
Secondly, you could offer your place to our hardship pool. This may enable someone who would love to run but couldn’t ordinarily afford it to take part.
As runners ourselves we feel for other runners that are unable to take part in events they’d entered – we really do! Especially when it’s due to injury in the lead up to an event they were looking forwards to. We’ve been there ourselves and know how frustrating it can be!
Which is why we’ve thought long and hard about the T&Cs, tried to make them as fair as possible to everyone, and provide ways of you avoiding losing out financially while – as every company/club/organisation has to do – managing our own financial risk.
As you may know, as a not-for-profit community interest company, we are legally bound to act in the best interests of the community we support (i.e. all you guys) as a whole. So, while we’d love to not have to bother with T&Cs and other small print, we’d soon go down the plug hole without them.
This is particularly pertinent in the current climate with running events as a whole suffering a huge slump at the moment. Entry numbers in the majority of events across the UK (and beyond) are significantly down compared to pre-covid times, while costs of putting them on are significantly up. This is leading to many small organisers ceasing operation and their events being cancelled, and potentially lost forever.
We’ll be sharing more about how things are going for us in the coming weeks, as we committed to when we became a Community Interest Company earlier in the year.
In the meantime, to try and finish on a positive note. We’re really looking forwards to a busy period and seeing many of you at our summer races – which are coming up quick and fast now.
We really do appreciate your support and, regardless of the number of people that turn out to run, will always do our absolute best to ensure you have a smooth and enjoyable experience at our events.