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Crossed & cross in Amalfi.

Updated 24th September. 

Since positing this blog I have received an email from Lost Worlds Racing. This acknowledged some failings in the delivery of the event & expressed their regret for the impact of these. This email is appreciated & it would be wrong of me not to mention this positive engagement.

The blog as originally posted..

The central part of this blog was written on Sunday 20 September 2015 after I chose not to start the Lost Worlds Racing Amalfi Coast Crossing because of the impact of changes made to the event not communicated clearly or in a timely manner to me.

Out of fairness I gave Lost Worlds Racing the right of reply off line & out of the public domain. They have chosen not to reply or provide any justification for the inconsistences contained on their website in respect of the Amalfi crossing or for failing to communicate relevant information in a timely & clear manner.

Since writing the main blog I have also learnt that I could have entered the exact same event via www.trailcampania.it for a fraction of the cost. Their early entry ‘bib’ only entry fee was 40 euros (about £30), Lost Worlds Racing charged over £210. A seven time multiple. That is for exactly the same event. Exactly.

If I had received a premium service then having an English speaking point of contact may have justified some of that multiple but as detailed below the service received was anything but premium.

Even if you choose not to read beyond this point I would just ask you to think again on that price multiple, seven, for exactly the same event. Exactly.

My thoughts from the day I should have been running in Lost Worlds Amalfi crossing..

This morning I should have started the Amalfi Crossing, one of the events in the Lost Worlds Racing event portfolio. The company mission statement includes an invitation to join them for a one of a kind trip. They didn’t disappoint in this respect, unfortunately for me that was for the wrong reasons.

I first became aware of the event in December 2014. I was immediately excited by it and promptly re- arranged my target events for 2015 to accommodate it. I entered in December 2014.

When I entered the event was described as 70km long & on the race information pages under the heading:

Area Details and Course Highlights

It clearly stated:

‘The race will start and finish in the town of Atranai. It will cross Amalfi, Positano and other stunning locations on the Amalfi Coast, one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world’

Due to it being an area I had never been to I decided to incorporate the event into a longer holiday. For this reason I opted for the bib only option that Lost Worlds Racing offer. This is billed as a no frills package.

It did, however, appear to make financial sense as whilst Lost Worlds Racing were happy to facilitate an extended stay as part of their package the inclusive transfer was only included if you travelled on set days. No discount was offered if you weren’t able to make use of the transfer facility even if you were booking the extra nights accommodation through them. Additionally the accommodation offered was priced at the higher end of what was available in the market but in anonymous hotels. There was therefore no way of knowing the nature of the hotel or its suitability beyond the event itself.  

A search for accommodation commenced. The primary criteria for the accommodation was that it was within easy walking distance of the start/ finish point. Atranai (see above).  Accommodation was duly secured on this basis, 400metres from Atranai. Ideal.

So as 20014 became 2015 a 70km run starting & finishing in Atrani had been entered & accommodation within walking distance of the start/ finish booked with deposit paid.  These details were confirmed on the receipt for our entry fee. This clearly showed the location as Atrani & the distance as 70km. This was received on the 27th December 2014.

I emailed Lost Worlds Racing confirming the above & received an acknowledgment for our entry into the 70km event. I was advised we would be invited to a gathering of International runners on the Friday before the event.

Everything was in place for what appeared to be a challenging run in an amazing location. The cost of flights, transfer, accommodation and race entry was much higher than the ultras I had enjoyed in the past few years on the Canary Islands but I was excited. This was going to be something special.

At this point I would remind you that the bib only entry offered by Lost Worlds Racing came in at over £200. This is between three and four times more than the entry fee I had paid for each of the ultras enjoyed on the various Canary Islands and the most I had paid for a single stage ultra run ever.

The next communication from Lost Worlds racing was received in August, a few weeks before departure. This mentioned that the start/ finish had been moved to Minori & the distance was now detailed as 76km. However,  part of the Lost World Racing website continued to state the start/ finish point as being in Antari (it still does).

Indeed within the general information pdf the distance was variously described (in the same document) as 70km, 75, 76 & 80km & both Atrani & Minori were listed as the start/ finish point. The gps file downloadable direct from the Lost Worlds racing website for the event didn’t help either as this showed 68km.

It was therefore very difficult to know where the event would start/ finish, the actual distance or the practical implications of any of these possible changes. Certainly without any prior knowledge of the Amalfi coast the impact of a change in location of the start point could not be fully appreciated. The organisers had that knowledge & presumably knew the correct information in respect of all of these points. Either way we were committed to the accommodation we had booked on the basis of a start/ finish in Atrani.

I sought to confirm the position before departure. I finally got a reply the third time of asking by which time we were in Atrani.  The distance had changed from 70km to 76km & the start/ finish point was Minori.

The event was no longer the event entered (different start/ finish point, different distance). 

Whilst Minori is only 4km away it is a logisitical nightmare to get to from Atrani due to the narrowness of the roads, the lack of parking. As a consequence of the changes we were now faced with making this journey four times (there and back for registration and the same for the event itself). Adding a significant time cost & real cost (parking on the Amalfi coast if you can find somewhere to park is not cheap) into the equation. Additionally the timing of the race briefing was also late for a 4am race start.

Our perfectly placed accommodation was no longer perfect. On race day we would now have to rise at least an hour earlier to reach Minori and face the stresses of trying to find somewhere to park legally for upto 20 hours. More worrying was the prospect of driving back fatigued along the roads.

These stresses and costs should not have presented themselves given the level of care we had taken in our original accommodation choice.

The organisers had knowledge of the roads in and around the Amalfi coast so must have been aware of the implications of such a change. They should have had the courtesy to advise us of the changes as soon as they knew about them. Not to leave it until a few weeks before the event. 

With regard to the securing of the correct gps file the lack of availability for this was blamed on those they had outsourced the course adjustment to. No ownership of the issue was taken. No apology for the wrong file being on the website. The most I secured was a vague assurance that something should be capable of being resolved after the race briefing. Remember this is already late on the eve of the race, a race with a 4am start.

My concerns and objections were met with..’its all part of the adventure’ NO dealing with the impact of event organisers decisions to change race route, start/ finish point and the provision of inaccurate gps files is not part of the adventure. It is poor service and shows a complete disregard for the competitor. 

I raised my concerns and frustrations with Lost Worlds Racing prior to the event. Of the replies I received the only one that suggested they were willing to find a solution was from the PR manager who unfortunately was not on the ground in Amalfi. Those that were in Italy appeared to think treating paying customers like dirt was fine. 

I am sure those on the full Lost Worlds Racing package would have been blissfully unaware of the implications of the above changes & their impact on those not travelling or staying with the main party. I hope they had a great experience.

I enter these events for the challenge of the events and for enjoyment. By their very nature I will always start them with a sense of trepidation. What I don’t want or need is to be faced with unexpected and unwelcome stresses and logistical issues in terms of simply making the start line because of the event organiser failing to communicate in a timely manner key changes or their failure to supply accurate route info (or even remove inaccuracies from their website). As a result of the inaction of Lost Worlds Racing to try to help me resolve the issues the changes they had made had presented I decided that the resulting stress and worry wasn’t worth the effort. So I chose not to start an event I had been looking forward to for over nine months.

Do I feel aggrieved yes. Is there anything I can do about it? Probably not, but I can make people aware of the manner in which I feel I was treated in the hope that others don’t befall the same fate.

Lost Worlds Racing had a duty of care to inform us of meaningful changes to the event. They failed to do so. That is negligence, pure & simple.

So regrettably not a positive blog about an amazing event in a special part of the world the Amalfi Crossing by Lost Worlds Racing, instead a tale of being crossed by Lost Worlds Racing in Amalfi. 

It really was a 'one of a kind experience'.

1 Comment(s)

Very restrained, from the rip off cost to the total disrespect for the paying competitor, the behavior of this company is disgusting

Terry / 22-Sep-2015 09:32 PM

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