Done with Team Ortho

>> Sunday, May 22, 2016

First, Team Ortho was in the news last summer for postponing a duathlon at the last minute. By "postponing," they actually meant "not having it this year, but you can race it next year."

Next, they were in the news for being a "charity" that only gives 1.5 cents on the dollar to their charitable cause while sending their employees on 3-day sight-seeing trips to China to pick up race t-shirts.

Now, Team Ortho's in the news again for not responding to permit issues soon enough which led to the potential last-minute move (or possible cancelation) of a marathon.

To sum up the last issue, Team Ortho's permit for the Minneapolis Marathon race course was rejected by the Minneapolis Park Board LAST AUGUST. The board explicitly asked Team Ortho for a new proposal because that one wouldn't work due to road construction projects. When this story first broke 3 days ago, Team Ortho hadn't tried a new proposal with the city, even though they had no route and were still marketing it and promoting it as the "Minneapolis Marathon." There was no word of this issue on their website or any social media pages. The race is in 2 weeks, mind you!

After KSTP posted a story about it on the 19th, something finally happened. On the 20th, Team Ortho submitted an application to have the race held in Rosemount (30 miles away). This is not for sure - this is just an application for a new race course 2 weeks from the race date. Dakota County has not yet approved the race permit at this time.

Within the last 48 hours, Team Otho finally released a statement (after feeling media pressure I'm sure) that starts with "Due to circumstances beyond our control, we will not be able to stage the Minneapolis Marathon on the original course. The original course has become unusable due to bridge construction and the inability to secure permits for a modified urban course." DUE TO CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND OUR CONTROL?!? You mean like being told 9 months ago that it WASN'T going to work? That was "out of your control" Team Ortho? If the Park Board told them that last week, then they could say it was "beyond their control." But being Team Ortho seemingly sat on their thumbs for 9 months, I reject the language of that opening line. Not to mention that they stated they were unable to "secure permits for a modified urban course." What "modified" course? They didn't resubmit ANY permit application for a modified course.

They're offering race refunds already, and I'd do that if I were registered. And they'd never see a dollar from me again. If I paid and trained along the river in Minneapolis and St. Paul, I'd be unhappy with a switch to an outer-ring suburb that will have different terrain and will (most likely) be less scenic. If I planned on biking 4 miles to the race start (or taking the lightrail/bus), I'd be quite unhappy to have it moved 30 miles away. My wife did this race recently, and Henry and I just jogged 1 mile down the road from our house to cheer her on and to see her run past. We wouldn't have gone to see it if it was a 30 mile ride 1-way. If my wife were racing it this year, she'd be pissed.

Sure, I don't know all the details. (I'd know more if Team Ortho actually attempted to answer questions from the media - recently, they didn't want to discuss the 9 months of non-action regarding the rejected course proposal, and last November, they didn't want to discuss the lavish trips they sent their employees on using the "charities" money.) If they get some people off the couch and trying to workout, that's a good thing. They have great race medals and great race swag. But as an organization, they seem incompetent. Their races tend to be overpriced, over-crowded, and poorly planned. (We had family waiting 60-90 minutes for a bus in the cold rain at the finish of the Monster Dash 10 mile without a tent or mylar blanket, and all the post-race food and water had ran out.) Team Ortho is actually receiving an "F" rating from the BBB. After these major issues in the news over the last year, I can't help but wonder if this latest issue is a sign that they don't care because they're beginning to dissolve their organization. I mean, I really don't think that's the case, but after not caring about this marathon for 9 months, it makes me wonder.

So I urge you to take your race registration elsewhere. Team Ortho doesn't seem to care.

UPDATE: (5/22/16, 5:05 pm) Tim L, a running buddy, pointed out that there's a specific Facebook page for the race (not just the main "Team Ortho" page). I went to check that out, and I went from annoyed with Team Ortho to being downright pissed off. Just SIX days ago they shared a link to an article on their main page with travel and lodging info. (The link is still on their FB page, but now it's a dead link.) If they know race is NOT going to be held where it's listed and are still promoting places to stay for the race, something is seriously f*cked up. How unethical is it to be promoting a place to stay that ONCE was a half mile from the race but NOW it's 30 miles from the race? Their Facebook event page has had 7 posts in the last 9 days, with only the last one (from yesterday) noting the possible race venue change to Dakota County. And people commenting on a post on their FB page from 4 days ago note that online registration was down, but Team Ortho was commenting "registration will be open at the expo and on race day." Of course registration is down because they knew they had a "9-month-in-the-works f*ck-up" on their hands.

If you're flying in from out of town, I'd like to apologize. On behalf of the Twin Cities AWESOME group of endurance athletes, we're not all screw-ups like Team Ortho. Come back and race another race in our great community. We have a free futon upstairs if you don't mind young boys waking you up early, so you can spend the night here before a (non-Team Ortho) race. Don't let this deter you from running or biking in our fine City!


Doc 9:56 AM, May 22, 2016  

I am really happy that you posted this and got the word out. I think a lot of people read your blog and respect you, and hopefully this illuminates some of the problems with their organization to the greater MSP area. I would like to see an organizational revamp or have another charity take over their races because they really offered some great courses, locations, and time-of-year options (love the Polar Dash multirace options! So fun!), but I agree their organization has been going down the tubes.

Steve Stenzel 10:12 AM, May 22, 2016  

Doc, I'm with you 100%. They've offered some good races, but their management has crapped out. It'd be great if another organization took over! Or they majorly revamped. Basically everything you said. :)

Shinianen 9:47 PM, May 22, 2016  

I've been over it with Team Ortho for years. I started really questing their integrity back at Get Lucky 2014 ( ). And then when the charity scam news story came up last November, I really got pissed ( ). I hope everyone gets wise and stops lining Ortho's pockets with their money.

And just to quote my own angst when they were "exposed" last fall : You know what bugs me the most, though? The owner is supposedly raising money for people who are physically challenged, yet (as of November 2015 he was) driving around with an expired handicapped license plate.

:) 2:50 PM, May 23, 2016  

Don't forget the time they cancelled the marathon due to "rain", and then everyone ran the half marathon course anyways.

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