Abruptly-cancelled marathon causes uproar

An impression of the finishers’ medal for the Malaysia Marathon Kuala Lumpur 2017. (Inset) Logo of the marathon. — Picture via Facebook/@malaysiamarathonofficial
An impression of the finishers’ medal for the Malaysia Marathon Kuala Lumpur 2017. (Inset) Logo of the marathon. — Picture via Facebook/@malaysiamarathonofficial

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 7 — The cancellation of the Malaysia Marathon Kuala Lumpur 2017, scheduled for Oct 1 but abruptly called off earlier this week, has caused uproar among participants and the public.

A number of them took to social media to air their dissatisfaction with the organiser of the marathon, Wisdom Sports (M) Sdn Bhd, for cancelling the event.

A statement posted on Wisdom Sports’ website and Facebook page for the marathon on Monday said it cancelled the marathon due to “unforeseen circumstances which would have impacted the overall event quality”.

The statement added the company would refund the fees paid by participants within 30 days of the cancellation. The company requested those who had registered for the event to send an email to them if they did not receive their refund by Oct 15.

“It was a truly difficult decision to make and we sincerely apologise to all those who have registered for the event,” said the statement, without giving any specific reason for the cancellation.

“We wish to thank each and every participant who have supported us right from the start and greatly appreciate your patience and understanding.

“An email will be sent to all registered participants on the cancellation notice and refund details.”

Attempts by Malay Mail for comments on the reasons for the cancellation proved futile.

It was learnt Kuala Lumpur City Hall, in its capacity as venue host, was also not provided an official explanation for the cancellation.

A spokesperson from the Culture, Arts and Sport Department said the decision to cancel the event was solely the organiser’s.

“The marathon was billed to be big because it carried ‘Malaysia’ in its name. A detailed explanation has to be given as this is now not just about refunds,” said the spokesperson.

Participants took to social media to express their dissatisfaction with the organiser by posting comments on the event’s Facebook page.

Likjie Lai, from Sarawak, who demanded an explanation, said: “Total disappointment, registration fee can be refunded, but what about the flight ticket bought? My friends and I are the outstation runners. We’re looking for reasonable explanation here.”

James Willis, a British national living in Banting, Selangor, said: “Another organiser hiding behind the ‘unforeseen circumstances’ banner. I am so pleased I refused to join this event due to their highly inflated foreign runner entry fees.”

Some netizens questioned the sincerity of the organiser.

Said Facebook user El Chain: “My friend said from the very beginning the event sounds fishy. SCKLM (the Kuala Lumpur Marathon) had just ended and suddenly there is another so-called ‘major’ Malaysia marathon. Sounds fishy, organiser is fishy too. Then you see them extending the early-bird period, etc. Good thing I didn’t register, this is just a
money-making scheme.”

The marathon was to feature three categories — a 42km full marathon, a 21km half marathon, and a 10km run.

Registrations fees ranged from RM95 to RM120 per participants, with early-bird promotions priced from RM70.