Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Pacific Coast Trail Runs Shuts Its Doors [updated]

Just five days before the sold out Skyline to the Sea 50k event, Race Director Sarah Spelt posted on Facebook today that Pacific Coast Trail Runs is officially closing its doors. Here's what she posted today around 3pm PST:
"I am beyond sorry to announce that I am forced to close the doors at PCTR, effective immediately. As many of you know, I have dealt with some very difficult obstacles these past few years which have taken their toll, in many ways, on me and on PCTR. Although they were exacerbated at the end of last year, I truly believed that PCTR could be turned around through the influx of money, the hard work of a few of us, and the support of my friends, but it just wasn’t to be. As a business, PCTR can no longer function.

I know that many runners/entrants will be upset with this decision, but please try to keep in mind that, for each of you, this is a race in your life, but for me, for over 12 years, this has been my life. Moving forward, I am hopeful that other RDs who are friends of mine will take over the upcoming events, and that those of you who have already planned to run will still be able to do so. Thank you for your understanding."
No mention of refunds, but some runners are rallying to do the course this Sunday anyway (and could use a few volunteers if you are in town) and it appears that former co-RD Wendell Doman is stepping in to ensure the race happens.

It's been a tough road for PCTR in the last year. Hopefully we can all look back positively on their contribution to the trail running community. 

- SD

[UPDATE - The following message appeared on the PCTR Facebook page from former PCTR co-RD, Wendell Doman:

"I'm the former owner of PCTR and I actually designed and started SttS 5 years ago. I currently own & operate Coastal Trail Runs. I just received approval from the Supervising Ranger to coordinate this event. I'm ordering hi-tech shirts, producing awards, setting up runner check-in, organizing aid stations, marking the course, etc. Basically, I'm trying to pull this together officially so the many runners receive the experience they were promised without any additional cost to them. I currently don't have contact info for the runners so please spread the word that the event will happen. If you can volunteer on Sunday, pls email events@CoastalTrailRuns.com. Thanks. Wendell"]

[UPDATE - As of August, 2012, the PCTR web site has a message saying there is new ownership/management, John and Maureen Brooks, and that some of the 2012 and 2013 races will continue.]

22 comments:

  1. Looks like what has been unofficial for a long time is finally official.

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  2. Sorry for the anonymity.
    I called a few of the parks that were listed on pctr's calendar (that they've been collecting money on registrations from). No permits in place and one park where pctr has an event actively collecting registration for next month responded, "I'm not familiar with pctr."

    It's criminal activity and has been for quite a while.

    It's a sad story but it shouldn't glaze over the harsh reality of wrong doing.

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  3. Sarah should be in jail for Fraud. I can't believe she was collecting money (or duping people out of money) for these races. I feel sorry for those that didn't know about the recent troubles with PCTR and registered for this race.

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  4. This is a real shame. I've just moved back to the bay area, and was looking forward to doing a lot of their races again.

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  5. I've been following this saga as well, but this news came as a shock to me. I just ran the Diablo Marathon last Saturday. There was a small turnout for the race, but one of the race directors was there, there were course markings, plenty of volunteers, well-stocked aid stations, shirts, medals, coasters, etc. I thought PCTR was turning a corner and now ... bam ... gone. No matter what the full story is, it's a sad day for the Bay area trail running community.

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  6. Saw Wendell's recent post on PCTR FB page,

    "I'm the former owner of PCTR and I actually designed and started SttS 5 years ago. I currently own & operate Coastal Trail Runs. I just received approval from the Supervising Ranger to coordinate this event. I'm ordering hi-tech shirts, producing awards, setting up runner check-in, organizing aid stations, marking the course, etc. Basically, I'm trying to pull this together officially so the many runners receive the experience they were promised without any additional cost to them. I currently don't have contact info for the runners so please spread the word that the event will happen. If you can volunteer on Sunday, pls email events@CoastalTrailRuns.com. Thanks. Wendell"

    I think it's very nice of Wendell for giving a hand at the toughest moment of PCTR!! Please spread the word. Volunteer needed.

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  7. Major kudos to Wendell and the folks at CTR.
    -Chris O'Connor

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  8. There's no mention of the closure on their web site, but at least if you try to register it says the online store is closed for maintenance, so they are not collecting any more money.

    This is very sad. My first trail run, first ultra, first 50 miler, and first 100 miler were all with PCTR. I haven't done any events with them since New Year's Eve (run by ITR for PCTR), but was hoping to add them back into the mix. Oh, well.

    And yes, many kudos to Wendell. I have always had good events with CTR.

    -- Mike Weston

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  9. Your cover looks like Forest Park in Portland! Is it??

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  10. It does look like Forest Park! Nope, it's Huddart Park in Woodside, CA, at a little picnic area called McGarvey Flat. Inside Trail Racing and Coastal Trail Runs both host 10k/30k/50k races here.

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  11. Organizing events is tough work. PCTR created an era in the sport of running in the Bay Area and the U.S., and will be missed. Many of us who are now regulars got their start thanks to Sarah and Wendell!

    Please give the folks at Coastal, Brazen, Inside Trail, Envirosports, Norcal-AR, and Troy's the respect they deserve. Without them, there won't be marked courses, stocked aid stations, accurate results, and other goodies we've all come to appreciate that help us and help others become part of this wonderful culture.

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  12. I've been participating in the PCTR events for more than 5 years. The races were always well organized, the trails were marked clearly and I enjoyed the courses. I will miss the PCTR and the people.

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  13. Hi Scott

    Been enjoying reading some Canadian and American trail running blogs. Love the tall timber you guys get to run amongst. We have the great Kauri Tree but settlers cut too many of them down! Regards from New Zealand. Check out one of our movies from the other side of the globe :-)

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlrzQHn9644

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  14. I'm so glad I stumbled across your blog. I had been planning on signing up for some of PCTR's races and I live over two hours away. It would be mindful if Sarah took down her website so others don't get the impression that her races are still a go.

    Now, I need to find other races for the Jun/Jul timeframe...

    Thanks for posting the info on your blog.

    -Elizabeth-

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  15. There are plenty of great races in the area in June/July...be sure to check out Inside Trail Racing, Coastal Trail Runs, Brazen Racing, Envirosports, and the PA USATF schedule for some good ones with a like community.

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  16. If you registered for a race and paid by credit card, call your credit card company to dispute the charge. They should be able to get your money back for your race fees.

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  17. Yo Scott—it's a phoenix. Or a hydra. Check out the website.

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  18. Not surprised to see it revived. Did Sarah sell the business outright? (The mailing list alone was worth $10k.) Wonder if new management will honor my $400 in volunteer credits? :/

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  19. It looks like PCTR is back and running and under new ownership. I'm kind of hesitant to register for a race though.

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  20. As one of the casualties of the SttS abandonment, I must say the name of PCTR has been tarnished beyond repair.

    http://www.skinnymoose.com/racktracker/2012/08/21/pctr-dead-or-alive/

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