Plainfield runner demands changes to Chicago Marathon refund policy amid COVID-19 pandemic

PLAINFIELD, Ill. (WLS) -- Many conventions and sporting events have been postponed or canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but there's one major event that is still set to take place in the fall: the Chicago Marathon.

While many runners are excited, some are furious with the Chicago Marathon organizers because of their refund policy.

A woman in Plainfield says she doesn't feel comfortable running in this year's marathon due to COVID-19, but she says the Chicago Marathon is not offering refunds and she's calling on the organizers to change their policy.

Enid Saez has competed in a number of races across the country, but this year's Bank of America Chicago Marathon was supposed to be extra special.

She was running for her Aunt Maria, a two-time cancer survivor flying her in from Puerto Rico to witness the race.

"She is very stable now and feeling strong but the situation we're having with the coronavirus would really be jeopardizing and compromising her health, so when I heard about the situation that was going on, we canceled our plans," Saez said.

Saez said she learned the race was still set for October 2020. She chose not to run and was certain she would be able to get her $216 back because of the global pandemic, but she was wrong.

According to the website, Chicago Marathon registration fees and ancillary purchases are nonrefundable and your 2020 registration fee and ancillary purchases will not be applied toward your 2021 application.

"These conditions are unprecedented," Saez said. "This is not our fault. I will be compromising my health, the health of my family members, especially my aunt, that is a cancer survivor and I have plans to celebrate life for many years to come."

A spokesperson for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon said the policy allows runners to cancel their 2020 entry and defer or hold their place in the 2021 event, but runners who cancel their entry will not receive a refund and the 2020 entry fee is not applied to the 2021 event.

The spokesperson said, "The event's entry cancellation policy is an opportunity that has been in place for several years to accommodate runners who may not be able to attend the event. The policy allows runners to cancel their 2020 entry and defer/hold their place in the 2021 event. Runners who cancel their entry will not receive a refund and the 2020 entry fee is not applied to the 2021 event.

"We are exploring all opportunities to be as accommodating to runners as possible during this time. We can't speak to specifics, but we are committed to providing updates to runners as they become available."

Saez says she is disappointed and feels the organizers aren't putting the people first.

"Step up to the plate in this difficult time for many of us," she said. "The amount that we paid is very considerable. Probably not for them, because they're a major corporation, but for us it's very significant, especially at these difficult times.".

Bank of America recently canceled its half marathon in Chicago, which was scheduled for June and runners in that race are being offered a refund.

But Saez said whether they end up canceling the marathon in October or not, she believes they need to give people the option to request a refund.
Copyright © 2020 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.