Just three weeks before the race, the Santa Barbara Veterans Day Marathon and Marathon Relay has been unexpectedly cancelled after race officials said not enough people signed up to cover production costs.
“This was an incredibly hard decision for us to make and we thank you for your support, understanding, and patience during this process,” race director Rusty Snow said in a statement.
Race participants have expressed frustration about the sudden cancellation of the event, which typically signs up 4,000 people, some from out of the state. It’s unclear how many people had signed up for the marathon this year under the $129 early registration fee.
“It’s become a great tradition,” said one runner who had family members coming in from two states to participate in a marathon relay team. “This definitely puts a damper on it.”
The half marathon and half marathon relay, however, have not been cancelled. They are scheduled to take place on November 7. The course starts at the UCSB campus, goes along State Route 217, around Hope Ranch, and finishes at Leadbetter Beach.
People who signed up for the marathon can run the half marathon instead and receive a $20 refund, receive a 50-percent discount off next year’s half marathon (currently priced at $85), or receive a full refund. But the refunds will not be processed until 2016.
The Santa Barbara Veterans Day races have a number of sponsors, including The Santa Barbara Independent. For several years, the races’ lead sponsor has been Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation, which puts on a number of Veterans Day events including the Veterans Mile, the Military Ball, the parade, and many other events on Veterans Day on November 11.
People in the running industry say marathon participation is down across the nation — excluding big races in Boston or New York — and more people, especially new runners, are signing up to run half marathons because they do not take as long to train for.