As more events drop off the 2020 calendar, Squamish's race directors are crunching the numbers and trying to findacceptable compromise for registrants.
It's a tough line to walk, said Geoff Langford, co-director of Coast Mountain Trial Running, which runs the Squamish 50 and the Coast Mountain Trail Series, including the local Survival of the Fittest contest, both of which have been cancelled for this year.
Langford said partial refunds are being handled on a case-by-case basis, such as for those who are only in the area temporarily. He encouraged those who plan to be around next year to defer to 2021 with 75-per-cent credit.
"We really want to make it right for everyone, so we've been working with people with unique situations on a one-by-one basis to do what we can," he said. "We're going to make it through this year. Where we're going to feel the impact is next year, where we don't have that revenue coming in anymore and we have to execute all the races for everybody.
"So much has to be paid out so far in advance. It's a funny business model. I think people get it when you remind them of how that works.
"We have to pay insurance every year back in November, December, because every permit requires that," he said, adding the first permit the race has to apply for has to go be submitted in November to reserve space in a park in August.
"It's a real early window on some of those financial commitments for us."
While the series has cancellation insurance, Langford said there were no allowances for the pandemic.
"We've had smoke and bears and everything over the years, but didn't expect the pandemic, and neither did the insurance companies," he said.
In a prior story, Sean Verret of the Squamish Running Society (also known as Run Squamish) echoed those thoughts when explaining why the group offered 50-per-cent refunds for its cancelled Loop the Lakes race, originally slated for May 9.
"A lot of bills get paid at the outset," he told The Chief earlier this month. "We're hoping that the amount that we have in the bank account gets us through to next year, and we're pretty confident that it will."
Similarly, up the road, the Whistler X Triathlon offered a refund less the CCN registration fee and $10, which only one-tenth of registrants opted for, according to race director Dale Tiessen. The Comfortably Numb Trail Race is currently scheduled for June 20 but is looking for a more feasible date later in the year, according to co-director Kristian Manietta.
Still, organizers are offering a similar 50% refund or full deferral to 2021.
Langford has been in touch with race directors across the country, participating in virtual town halls to get a sense of how others are riding out the pandemic.
To support races all over the continent, the trail series sold headbands online, and has raised more than $28,000 for roughly 120 different organizations.
"We wanted to do something that was community-based and we didn't want to be, 'Oh, help us!'" he said. "This was something we could do for the community as a whole and let people direct the proceeds to whoever they wanted to.
Meanwhile, the series' other co-director, Gary Robbins, recently completed a 100-mile run with a goal of raising $5,000 for local search and rescue (SAR) organizations, but surpassed $15,000 in the end.
Supporting community groups is a major part of the series' M.O., and though there likely won't be the same level of contribution this year, Langford said the group is aiming to provide a boost to SAR and trail-maintenance groups currently feeling the pinch.
"We're trying to come up with some creative ways to make that happen," he said.
*Please note, this story has been corrected since it was first posted. The original story called Coast Mountain Trail Running by its former name, Ridgeline Events. The organization rebranded to the new name this past winter.