FAQ about the corona virus and the events arranged by Marathongruppen 2020

FAQ in Swedish

Here you can find the latest information and the most frequently asked questions about the effect of the corona pandemic on the events arranged by Marathongruppen.  

Update 2020-06-10: We have today been forced to make the decision to cancel our planned events in August until mid September. This decision includes STHLM Urban Trail (9/8), Stafesten för UNICEF (19-20/8), Tjejmilen (29/8), STHLM 10 (30/10), ASICS Stockholm High Five (4/9), ASICS Stockholm Marathon (5/9), Ramboll Stockholm Halvmarathon (5/9), Stockholm Mini Marathon and Minsta Maran (6/9).

On June 4th, the Swedish government announced new regulations for domestic travel this summer, and we have been in contact with The Public Health Agency, the Police and other relevant authorities to try to clarify if we will be able to get permission to organise events in August and September. The answer has been clear. Given the current state of the corona pandemic, there is no safe way for us to organise running events that gather more than 49 people (which is the current limit for public gatherings in Sweden).

I am registered to one of the cancelled events, what information will I get?  

All participants of the cancelled events have received an email with more information about compensation. If you can’t find the email (make sure to check your spam), please contact us at [email protected] and we will help you.  

Why can’t I get my registration fee back for the cancelled race?

In our general terms and conditions, which you as a participant approve when you sign up for one of our events, it is clearly stated that reimbursement does not occur when the event is cancelled due to unforeseeable circumstances (for example, an authority decision, as it is in this case where the Swedish Government has decided to ban all public gatherings and events with more than 50 people). We have built up a buffer over the years, but it will be completely or largely forfeited after this year. If we had offered to pay back the registration fees for all races we have had to cancel, then our organization would undoubtedly go under, for that money does not exist.

Much of our work is done in advance, planning and preparation for a race will start at least 12 months before the event takes place. The majority of the event costs are therefore taken early. This applies not least to personnel costs, marketing, rent and other fixed expenses. By the end of 2020, Marathongruppen will have had far greater costs than revenues, including all paid registration fees.

Because of this situation we must therefore find other ways to compensate our participants than to pay back the registration fees, and we do this through our compensation package. We will never forget those who (voluntarily and involuntarily) has contributed to the survival of our organization and we look forward to paying tribute and treat you as a VIP for a long time to come.

Marathongruppen is a non-profit organization where all profits go back to our owner associations Hässelby SK Friidrott (Track & Field) and Spårvägens Friidrottsklubb (Track & Field), and other non-profit organizations what we cooperate with. Our owners’ associations run children’s and youth activities and they also have elite athletes. More importantly, before our owner associations receive their contribution, a much larger proportion has gone to other associations, a total of over a hundred sports associations that receive a large portion of their annual income through our events. Revenue that make it possible to conduct daily operations with everything from coaches and office staff to local rents and equipment. A significant amount also goes to our partner organizations The Swedish Childhood Cancer Fund, UNICEF, the Swedish Childhood Heart Disease Fund, and others. So without the protection provided by our general terms and conditions, an important source of funding for the Swedish sports movement would also disappear, which would greatly impact the accessibility of sports activities for children and youth.

Why don’t you offer reimbursements like other races have done?

Each organizer’s circumstances are unique. Many major races around the world are owned or funded by large international corporations. Marathongruppen is a non-profit organization which transfers all surplus funds at the end of the year to other non-profit sports clubs to be used for children’s and youth activities within sports. Thus Marathongruppen does not have a buffer with which to cover losses. The corona situation has left us in a rough spot and we are faced with having to make many tough choices. In the case of reimbursements we really did not have any choice. If we would offer reimbursements we would be in bankruptcy, the organization would cease to exist and this year’s edition of the ASICS Stockholm Marathon and our other races would be the last ones. We have thus been forced to use the provision in our terms of purchase mandating us not to offer refunds when the event is cancelled due to unforeseeable circumstances. It is painful to have to do so as we are dependent on the goodwill and positive references from the running community, but we unfortunately and simply have no other choice.

The Swedish Consumer Agency states that I should get a refund for cancelled events, why are you not following this policy?

Our General Terms and Conditions, which you accept when you register for one of our events, are quite clear. If the event is cancelled due to unforeseeable circumstances (eg a government decision, as is the case here), we are not obliged to offer a refund. Neither is there is compulsory consumer legislation which applies to the purchase of a start place, which would invalidate our Terms and Conditions. A start place in a race does not constitute a commodity or service within the Consumer Purchases Act (1990:932) nor the Consumer Services Act (1985:716). In addition, there is also no support for applying corresponding consumer legislation.

Besides, these laws apply to the relationship between a trader and consumer. We are of the firm opinion that our ’owner associations’ cannot be considered to be covered by the concept of trader and that a corresponding application of consumer legislation would, therefore, be even more extraordinary. The races which are organised by Marathongruppen are arranged with the intention of supporting and maintaining the associations’ non-profit sports activities.

For us and other major organisers of mass-participation sports events, our General Terms and Conditions are an absolute necessity for us to operate. All of our work revolves around up-coming events. Preparations for an event start at least 12 months before it takes place. For this reason, we have a high percentage of fixed costs and need to take investment decisions a long time in advance. If the protection of our General Terms and Conditions is not valid, we do not have the prerequisite to run our type of operation.

We are never going to be able to profit from this situation and would never have wanted to do so even if we could. In 2021 we will do all we can to compensate the runners who have been affected during 2020, but first we have to ensure that we can survive before we can know what scope there is for compensation. During this time, we can only request and hope for patience from all who have been affected.

You must have access to the government’s financial support package – doesn’t that cover registration fees?

To a certain extent, we can access the government’s business measures, but most of them are not applicable to our type of operation. Our staff have been temporarily laid off for a period of time now, but it would have been better to have been laid off from June 2019 to June 2020 if we had known that we would not have been able to organise any events in the spring. In general, you could say that the layoff support is created for other types of operations than ours, for example shops, hotels and restaurants, where there is a constant flow of customers who are served all months of the year. Our work is 90 percent ‘future-focused’.

We obviously hope to be able to access the support package for sport which the government has presented. However, we understand that the support for sport will not be anything like sufficient to cover the financial damage which has been done to Swedish sport, so our expectation is that the contribution will be a relatively low sum.

Why haven’t you made the decision to cancel earlier?

Over the past few months, we at Marathongruppen have had to make many tough decisions where there are no perfect choices, a lot of times not even good alternatives. We have been forced to try to choose the least bad alternatives with insufficient information (since no one knows how long this situation will last). To the extent possible, we have tried to postpone the events – with the intention of being able to go through with the events (on a different date than the original plan), for the sake of our participants and our sports associations. We have tried to buy time (by negotiating with suppliers to postpone the time for orders, etc.) in order to be able to make well thought-through decisions.

Exercise events plays an important role in maintaining Swedish public health. We have worked hard to find ways to go through with our events (without risking the health and safety of our participants and the public) as we know that signing up for exercise events is a strong source of motivation for physical activity. This in turn contributes to the population’s resistance to illnesses and reduces the burden on health care, which is more important than ever during these times – and in the future.

Now that we have reached the last government decision, we unfortunately have to think differently about our late summer and autumn events. It is a big disappointment for everyone involved, but we obviously follow the authorities’ guidelines and we are, after all, proud of how we have struggled to see opportunities and tried to find solutions in this tough time.

Why don’t you try to organise events that are adapted to the restrictions that exist?

We have tried to find solutions to limit the crowds at the events, but when it comes to most of our races in August and September, they are simply too big to even find reasonable variations in the arrangements. The authorities have also been quite clear that in the current situation they will not give permission for special variants, if the event in itself will gather more than 49 people (which is the current limit for public gatherings).

Are you arranging any virtual races?

Yes! There will be virtual races for each of the cancelled events, around the same dates as the events were supposed to be arranged. All runners that were registered for an event 2020 will be able to run the virtual edition. More info is coming soon.

Why can’t you move the events to later dates this autumn?

The situation is simply too uncertain and, for example, blocking the city is not done too easily. In addition, we have the weather against us. Should we look for a new date in November and December, it may be snow which makes it difficult to carry out these big races safely and satisfactorily.

Race dates 2021

GORE-TEX Winterrun – January 30
ASICS Premiärmilen – March 27
Premiärhalvan (replaces Tjejmilen 21K) – April 24
The Vårruset Tour – april-june (TBD)
STHLM Trail Run – May 15
ASICS Stockholm High Five – June 4
ASICS Stockholm Marathon – June 5
Stockholm Mini Marathon and Leos Minsta Maran – June 6
STHLM 10 – June 10
Ragnar Lake Mälaren – June 19-20
STHLM Urban Trail – August 15
Stafesten för UNICEF – August 24-25
Tjejmilen and Lilla Tjejmilen – September 4
Ramboll Stockholm Half Marathon – September 11
Tjurruset and Kalvruset – October 2
STHLM X – October 23
Höstrusket and Höstrusket Marathon – November 6

Do you have other questions?

Don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected] or +46(0)8-545 66 440.

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