RANTOUL — The Run or Dye event that was to be held next month in Champaign has been rescheduled for Oct. 11 in Rantoul.
The event will be held at the Rantoul airport on that day, said airport manager Rune Duke, and it will benefit the local Big Brothers Big Sisters organization.
A group of city officials — including Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith, Duke and Tim Weitekamp, who has organized a number of races over the years, including Rantoul's Rockin' the Runway 5K — met with a representative of the event organizer, Viral Events, about two weeks ago.
Duke said the organizers approached Rantoul because of the space available at the airport for parking and hosting the event.
"We are glad we are able to facilitiate this for both the charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters, but also for all the participants," Duke said.
The event was originally scheduled for May 10 in Champaign, but organizers were not able to get a permit to hold the event. About 3,000 people had already registered for the event.
Wednesday night, the city of Champaign issued a release spelling out that the organizers hadn't received permission from the University of Illinois for the portion of the route that would have been on UI property, and that there wasn't time to plan a new route for May 10.
See the city's release here.
Duke said Rantoul officials "moved deliberately on this to ensure we would all be able to be comfortable moving forward. They were able to answer our concerns appropriately and to our satisfication."
The top concerns were communication about the event and refunds for registered participants who did not want to run on the alternate date, Duke said.
"That was very important to us, that anyone that did not wish to come to Rantoul for this event would get a refund," he said.
Duke said the organizer has committed to putting on the event in Rantoul, no matter how many people are registered. They also addressed concerns about cleanup after the run.
Weitekamp said he had a number of concerns that he wanted addressed by the organizers. They included making it clear how registered participants could get refunds if they wanted them; advertising the alternate date and place and associated charity; ensuring a revenue stream for Big Brothers Big Sisters from the event; and guaranteeing an opportunity to hold the run again in 2015 if it is successful this year.
Weitekamp acknowledged there will be some people who are angry with the company for its lack of communication about the cancelation of the Champaign race. He said he urged the company's representative "to do as much PR repair in the Champaign area as they can."
"I don't like the way they handled it in Champaign, and I would like for them to do as much as they can to make the people they disappointed more happy," he continued. "They need to make a strong effort to explain and apologize for their lack of attention to detail."
Weitekamp said he is also satisfied with the assurances he and Rantoul officials got from the company about an event in Rantoul.