Runners expecting to take part in a race in Leeds this weekend are being warned not to turn up after it emerged the event may have been little more than a scam.
Tickets were sold for She Runs the Night 5k and 10k races at Temple Newsam on Saturday evening, but organisers have become unreachable and an independent ticketing website has advised customers to seeks refunds via their banks.
Organisers Running Clinic had advertised the event as a “unique, women only glow in the dark night run that is taking place all over the planet”, claiming they wanted to build a “strong community of women who love running”.
Participants were encouraged to dress in “glow, glitz and glamour” as a way of celebrating a healthy lifestyle.
Vicky Johnston had paid £49 for two tickets after carrying out an online search for races in Leeds.
“Me and my friend were looking for a fun 10k that we could do in a few months time,” she said. “We’re not really serious runners.”
She only realised something was wrong in the past week when she searched her emails for the ticket confirmation.
It was then that she first saw an email from ticket website Bookitbee’s fraud and safety team, which had been sitting in her junk mail since August 10.
The message said a significant number of customers had raised concerns about a lack of communication from the organisers and the deletion of their Facebook page.
Bookitbee said it had made its own request for an event plan and proofs events were happening, but received no response.
It said Running Clinic’s account had been disabled as a result and all customers were advised to seek a refund via their bank if they could not get one from the organisers directly.
Mrs Johnston, 33, of Monk Fryston, near Selby, said she was confident that she would be able to get a refund via her bank but was worried others who signed up might not yet know.
"It’s come as a bit of a surprise really," she said. “I think I’ll be more wary in future."
A Leeds City Council spokesman said: “While we had an initial enquiry from a company to hold this event, they never replied to our correspondence to progress any further. We do not have this event booked in our diary and it will not be taking place on our site.”
Running Clinic could not be reached by phone and its website and email account have been closed.
Other events under the She Runs the Night banner in Sheffield, Birmingham and Edinburgh have also been cancelled.