By Mike Pomranz
Updated August 26, 2016
Credit: joostverbeek

The Ultimate Wine Run promises participants at events held across the country a fun mix of running and chugging wine. What could go wrong with that? Alright, so, maybe a lot.

According to ABC’s JET 24 Action News, people who registered for The Ultimate Wine Run’s Erie event, slated to be held at the Lake Erie Speedway on October 1, became furious after finding out that the event would no longer be happening there as planned – and getting the news not from the people at the Ultimate Wine Run, but via the Speedway itself. Reportedly, the venue backed out after the organizers never paid them despite the fact that runners who had registered had already paid their registration fees.

Now, rumors are beginning to swirl that The Ultimate Wine Run maybe be more akin to an ultimate wine sham. “We were not contacted about the event being canceled by the company, we found out through the venue,” JET 24 quoted would-be particiapnt Melisa Harned as saying about the Erie event. “We did not receive any kind of email or response from the Ultimate Wine Run.” Meanwhile, as the news site points out, the company is very clear about their refund policy on its website: They “do not issue refunds or transfers under any circumstances” and “date and location is subject to change without refund issued.”

According to a Facebook group called “The Ultimate Wine Run TRUTH,” that company has played pretty fast and loose with these inconvenient policies in the past. The page features numerous complaints about Ultimate Wine Run events changing dates and locations, sometimes multiple times. Five months ago, a number of commenters on Reddit agreed. “Horrible experience here in San Diego,” wrote one user. “Extremely unorganized and a scam....charged for parking in free public parking areas, ran out of wine and glasses, no clearly marked route, etc etc.” Another user pointed to the Yelp page for the event’s stop in Henderson, Nevada, where it currently has a not-so-glowing 1.5 star rating and features a photo of a woman drinking wine out of a “plastic shot glass.” “In addition to this all the fees that were being charged for a crappy dirt run with plastic shot size glasses of wine was definitely not worth it,” wrote one Yelper.

As for the Erie event, JET 24 reports that The Ultimate Wine Run has said that the event is not cancelled; they are just looking for a new venue. Wherever it ends up, you may want to consider taking your hard-earned money and running five kilometers in the opposite direction.