Editors Note: Run Oregon notified Double Dog Dare U (DDDU) on 11/26 and 11/30 that a post would be going live, in an effort to allow them to respond to the following subject matter. DDDU posted an update to their Facebook page for the first time on 11/30.
A few months ago, I was part of a team that put on an event that meant a lot to me: The Panda Burro Invitational. It was a 5k/10k race with a virtual option and a free kids run, organized to raise funds for the Pongo Fund, a local pet food bank. The event was the brainchild of my best friend, Ardara, her boyfriend Ron (who also works for a local event company), and me. We love running, we love animals, and we wanted to put on a fun event to bring people together for a good cause. Upon learning about the race concept, Tina and Pattric Langley of Double Dog Dare U Events (DDDU), a historically reputable and local running event company, offered to handle the logistics and planning. They scheduled the event for August 27, 2016, and Mr. Langley assumed the role of race-director for the event. What was seemingly a good decision for our feel-good story and race has unfortunately taken a sideways turn.
As of today, DDDU has yet to deliver funds to the Pongo Fund and has not even mailed out any of the virtual race packets from the Panda Burro Invitational. Before this event, I was eager to support DDDU as a Race Ambassador, a position I have since resigned as part of cutting all ties with their company. I am incredibly disappointed by DDDU’s treatment of their running community and the charity for which the money was raised.
During the planning process, DDDU agreed to our dream that part of the Panda Burro Invitational race proceeds be donated to the Pongo Fund. Ardara, Ron, and I spent countless hours volunteering for the Panda Burro Race, asking friends and absolute strangers for sponsorships and donations, promoting the event, and even putting our own money into helping make the event a success. In the weeks leading up to the event, more than 165 runners and walkers registered for the race and virtual race, 30+ wonderful sponsors signed on, forty amazing raffle prizes were donated, and $1,000 of sponsorship money was raised. The feedback that I received was that race day itself was a positive experience for both runners and sponsors. So I was disappointed (to say the least) when I learned that Mr. Langley had not followed through with the donations or virtual runner packet mailing, and increasingly so as more and more weeks passed by.
Mr. Langley and DDDU controlled all financial aspects of the race, including securing race insurance and permits, handling registration fees, online donations, sponsorship money, and raffle ticket sales. These are all vital elements to putting on a safe and fun event, and he had plenty of experience with DDDU and as a board member for a local nonprofit running club. DDDU was also supposed to issue a check for the donation to the Pongo Fund. But three months after the event date, virtual runners are still posting on the event’s facebook page to inquire about their swag (Editors note: It appears the Panda Burro Race Facebook event page was removed on 11/30), and more importantly, the Pongo Fund is waiting on the donation that they’ve been counting on. A donation of more than $2,500: the sum of $1,891 in online donations from 57 people, $595 in raffle ticket sales, and about $300 from the percentage of race registrations earmarked for the contribution to the Pongo Fund. (editors note: when Run Oregon administrators reached out to DDDU on 11/26, they were told that payments would be made by year’s end. However, by this posting, Run Oregon has not been informed of communication between DDDU and the Pongo Fund).
I’ve tried to get an explanation from DDDU, but haven’t received a response from Mr. Langley to any of the texts, calls, or emails that I’ve sent. If there was something going on that prevented him from writing that check or mailing the virtual packets, I would understand – but nothing has kept DDDU from remaining active on their other social media pages, and promoting their other events. Other participants have also been left in the dark, despite their emails and Facebook posts asking for information. Even though I’ve resigned as an (unpaid) ambassador, I still care enough about the Pongo Fund and the Panda Burro Invitational participants to try and answer their questions on social media. Even if the only answer I can give is for them to email Mr. Langley at firstname.lastname@example.org, it’s important to me personally that this isn’t forgotten until the Pongo Fund receives the donation.
I would hate to give Run Oregon readers the idea that local race organizers don’t do a good job – nearly all of them do. Since race director Mr. Langley has not responded to any correspondence from myself, nor the Pongo Fund, since mid-September, I hope that this post will encourage them to make good on their promises to the Pongo Fund and those runners still waiting to see their race packet. The event isn’t truly over until every single virtual race packets is delivered as promised, and until the Pongo Fund has received and cashed a valid check from Double Dog Dare U Events. Regardless of when or if that is, you’ve got something to think about when you’re planning your 2017 race calendar.
This post was written by, and is personal experience of, blogger Marilyn Tycer. The views and experience in this post do not necessarily reflect those of all of Run Oregon.