The national company behind a 5K that angered numerous southern Wisconsin runners has folded and is declaring bankruptcy.
A statement on the Electric Foam 5K website states that the company had ceased operations immediately and cancelled all future races.
This came after a group of local runners began a social media campaign to warn runners around the country about their experience. The Electric Foam 5K was held outside the Alliant Energy Center on Saturday night, May 17.
Roughly 200 participants arrived expecting giant foam guns, pulsating dance beats and an overall after-party. Instead, they found two children's bubble machines, no marked course, signed no waivers and had no fun.
They reached out to News 3, the Better Business Bureau and numerous other media outlets to claim false advertising. Jaime Strickert, a Janesville resident, who set up an "Electric Foam 5K Scam Madison WI" Facebook page, said she had mixed feelings about the company's folding.
"I was still holding out that they were a legitimate company, but it appears they truly didn't have much ground to stand on," Strickert wrote in an email to News 3 after hearing the news the company folded. "I'm thrilled that nobody else will have to go through the disappointment that we experienced here in Madison. I'm encouraged to know that people can come together in a constructive manner to make a difference and bring awareness to consumers--even about something as simple and seemingly 'innocent' as a fun-run."
After the Wisconsin runners began their campaign, races in Dallas, Columbus, Ohio, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, were cancelled.
Emails and phone calls to Wayne Street, the CEO of Street Events, the company that runs the Electric Foam 5K races, went unanswered. A spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau said her efforts to reach the company to resolve the complaints she's received have also gone unanswered.
In a statement on its website, the company wrote, "We have tried these last few weeks to continue producing our events but due to business conditions, we cannot. ElectricFoam no longer has staff or resources and will not be able to respond to individual emails or phone calls but will provide additional email updates as information becomes available."
It stated that Groupon had processed refunds for runners for all of its events and that it would be filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy.