Fayetteville half-marathon cancelled, organizer says lawsuit planned against city

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — There’s controversy over a Fayetteville half-marathon and 5k road race that the city says doesn’t have a permit.

UPDATE: Organizer of Fayetteville half-marathon, 5k to issue refunds after event cancelled

Organizers of the Oct. 29 Halloween Half-Marathon and 5k say because of what’s happened, they’ll cancel the half-marathon but continue with 5k, which will be run on private property.

Fayetteville officials put out a press release warning people not to sign up for the race claiming it’s “unlawful” because organizers have no permit and the city can’t provide safe access to roads for the runners.

Organizers originally wanted to run the race on the Cape Fear River Trail, which would not involve any city streets. The race’s organizers say the city nixed the idea.

So organizers met with city officials and worked out a deal to run it on city streets instead. The organizers admit they made a mistake and opened registration before the city manager signed the permit.

The Florida-based race director says that upset city officials

“They denied the permit because we opened up registration before we were able to get the city manager to sign off on it, even though department heads had signed off on it,” said Jason Miller.

Fayetteville has hosted events like the All-American Marathon on city streets and hosted the Halloween Half-Marathon in 2015 and 2016. But in the face of the rejected permit, race organizers decided to run it on County Roads instead starting at the Crown Colosseum.

“We obtained approval from the sheriff’s department, the county side of things and the venue itself. … We are under contract with them,” Miller said.

But, a city spokesman told CBS North Carolina the county doesn’t have a permitting system, so it falls on Fayetteville to issue approvals. and spokesman Nathan Walls says without a city permit, the police and sheriffs department cannot support the event.

Fayetteville officials say they’re concerned about public safety if there aren’t proper traffic control measures in place during the race.

“With no law-enforcement presence and EMS services we can’t have a safe event,” said Lieutenant Sean Swain of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office.

The race website says registration fees are $80 for the half-marathon $40 for the 5K.

Miller says his company will refund the $80 registration fee for the 500 people who signed up for the half-marathon half-marathon.

Miller also says his insurance company will cover the costs of anyone’s travel reservations.

Because of what’s happened, Miller says his company, Exclusive Sports Marketing, will be filing a lawsuit against the city.

Email CBS North Carolina’s Steve Sbraccia if you have a consumer issue.

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