ElectricFoam has announced on its website that as of June 17th the company will no longer be in business and no future races will be held. ElectricFoam has been part of a trend that has spread like wildfire over the past few years … what I personally think of as the gimmick race … defined (by me) as a race where the actual running is secondary to other silly, gimmicky occurrences. Some examples are mud runs, color runs, colored foam runs, colored chalk runs, electric runs and obstacle runs. For the Electric Foam 5k in particular, runners wear glow sticks and run through foam stations as they listen to blaring electronic dance music. Participants are encouraged to “run, walk, or dance” their way through the course.
While obviously these runs can be a blast, they’re not for everyone. Serious runners generally won’t sign up for themselves, but they will view runs like these as an opportunity to participate in a running activity involving the whole family. In fact, if there’s one great reason for these types of runs, it’s that it attracts an entirely different kind of participant than a straightforward running event does.
In general, one does not set out to set a PR at a “foam” run. In fact, per the ElectricFoam website the distance of the race is “3ish” miles, furthermore proving the point that these events are in a class by themselves and not for the runner looking to do a standard road race.
The announcement from the ElectricFoam website does not go in to too much detail, but does make it sound as though most participants who paid have already or will be receiving refunds. Following is the announcement from their website in full:
Dear ElectricFoam Registrants,
We regret to announce that ElectricFoam is cancelling all future events and will no longer be in business as of June 17th, 2014, ceasing operations immediately. We have tried these last few weeks to continue producing our events but due to business conditions, we cannot.
ElectricFoam no longer has staff or resources and will not be able to respond to individual emails or phone calls but will provide additional email updates as information becomes available.
We appreciate the support from the racing community, but despite an exhaustive search for options through today, we cannot proceed further. We do hold out some hope that another race series or investors will step in and allow us to continue and some discussions towards that are continuing to take place. But at this point we cannot continue forward.
Groupon has already processed refunds for all of our events and Pulsemob will be issuing some remaining refunds as well. Due to our financial situation we will also be filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Without full disclosure from ElectricFoam we have no way of knowing what went wrong. In reading some different online articles today, including Electric Foam 5K Goes Out of Business by Matt McCue from Runner’s World, there appears to have been some discrepancies between the advertising of what would take place at the event and the actual delivery.
WBNS 10-TV in Columbus Ohio, in their article: Consumer 10 Alert: Electric Foam 5K More Duds Than Suds, stated that what was advertised as runners dancing through “walls of foam” turned out to be nothing more than “bath- time bubbles coming through a fence.”
With so many new races emerging every month, how can one runner know how to choose a winner? One excellent resource comes from Road Runnner’s Club of America. It would behoove us all to take the time to read their article: RRCA’s BUYER BEWARE TIPS WHEN REGISTERING FOR EVENTS.
Some tips include running races who are put on by local directors, and are in their second to third year. All of us are eager to try new adventures, and some of the newer events are perfect for entire families to participate in. It’s up to us though, to do our homework and find the good events. After all, nobody wants to sign up for and anticipate what they think is going to be a fun race simply to be disappointed and out a (usually spendy) race entry.
There is and never will be a shortage of great races out there, even the most gimmicky ones, but just be careful and choose wisely. And of course, have fun!