Pacific Coast Trail runs, owned by Sarah Spelt has had a rough year or more financially.

A Trail Runner’s Blog, by Scott Dunlap detailed the difficulties faced by Pacific Coast Trail Runs (PCTR) in the end of 2011


To say that 2011 has been a tough year for PCTR would be an understatement of ultra proportions – cancelled races, a no show for an event, tens of thousands of dollars in refunds in limbo, a rotating door of co-RD’s, and more – any one of these would be enough to set the tombstone on even the best event management company.

Despite the difficulties, I saw the fact that the organization was trying to rectify the situation (no-shows and cancelled races) and I registered for the Skyline to Sea 50k. From January to May, reports rolled in that the events were happening without a hitch. Then on June 5th, six days before my race a status popped up on my Facebook Page.

Pacific Coast Trail Runs
I am beyond sorry to announce that I am forced to close the doors at PCTR, effective immediately. As many of you know, I have dealt with some very difficult obstacles these past few years which have taken their toll, in many ways, on me and on PCTR. Although they were exacerbated at the end of last year, I truly believed that PCTR could be turned around through the influx of money, the hard work of a few of us, and the support of my friends, but it just wasn’t to be. As a business, PCTR can no longer function.

I know that many runners/entrants will be upset with this decision, but please try to keep in mind that, for each of you, this is a race in your life, but for me, for over 12 years, this has been my life. Moving forward, I am hopeful that other RDs who are friends of mine will take over the upcoming events, and that those of you who have already planned to run will still be able to do so. Thank you for your understanding.

The Words “I am forced to close the doors at PCTR, effective immediately” meant to me that the company was out of business with no ability or intent to refund fees they had received. The would put on no other events. I was SOL…

Fortunately Coastal Trail Runs (the former husband of PCTR owner Sarah Spelt) took over the permit and put on the race, at no additional cost to the registered runners. I was able to finish my first 50k and my first Coastal trail run. I was perturbed that I never received an official email from PCTR, and that I spent two days of mental anguish thinking that my six months of training was for naught. I was resigned to the fact I would never see my Skyline entry money. I imagined that the head of PCTR had left in the dark of the night and was living in some small beachside town in Mexico under an assumed name.

Fast forward to August 20th, 2012. Seventy five days after PCTR declared itself DEAD. When the following words appeared on the PCTR facebook page:

We are happy to announce that PCTR is up and running again! Registration is now open for the Headlands Marathon, 50 Mile, and 100 Mile Endurance Runs. Registration for other 2012 races and early 2013 races will open soon.

We are excited to have new management with the same fabulous courses and friendly atmosphere.
You can expect the same and new spectacular venues with well-marked trails, fully stocked aid stations, and distinctive shirt designs. In addition, we now have the best refund policy in trail running.

As you know, PCTR has grown tremendously with the support and dedication of Sarah Spelt since 2000. We would like to introduce John Brooks, as our new race director, and Maureen Brooks, who will be taking care of runner customer service and administration. John is a lifelong endurance athlete. He has participated in Ironman World Championships, Western States Endurance Run, and is a two-time Ultraman finisher. He is experienced in sports event management, and has helped at many PCTR events over the years.

Last, you will notice that Mt. Diablo is no longer on the calendar for next month, as that date was released before the transition to new PCTR management. We will be contacting the entrants in the next 48 hours with their options.

I commented that I wished PCTR no ill will, but the history of cancelled races, no shows, and no refunds had tarnished the PCTR name and that I would not be participating for that reason. My comment was deleted, but luckily a few friends called them on it.

A few moments later a post read “to discuss a refund for a past event, please write to: Thanks!”

I sent off an email and I await the response of PCTR. If they come through with a refund I will certainly pass the news along. To my way of thinking that is the first step to recovery of the company. Restore the faith of a disenchanted group of over 300 runners who had to change their plans and are owed fees from a company who did not deliver. This attitude of “everything is better now, let’s forget the bad stuff that happened in the past” (75 days ago) angers me.

The name of PCTR has been tarnished by the actions of an owner and race director who let down a number of people three times in six months. Had it not been my good experiences in my prior five years running PCTR races, it is unlikely I would have given them the benefit of the doubt.