Runners frustrated with SF Half Marathon organizers after event canceled last minute

The Kaiser Permanente-sponsored San Francisco Half Marathon, scheduled for Sunday morning, was canceled due to the harsh weather conditions, but people prepared to run the race said they didn’t get notified of the cancelation until half an hour before it was supposed to begin. 

Organizers also haven’t said whether people will receive a refund for the race they didn’t run.

"We thought, ‘ok this is going to be really difficult with the wind and the rain, unprotected,’ but we’re still excited to do it," said Liza Marinaro, who intended to run the half marathon. 

"I had already kind of accepted the fact that it was going to suck," said another half marathoner, Tyler Lamirato.

Organizers sent out an email earlier in the week saying they were modifying the route of the race and adjusting start times due to harsh weather conditions.

Then, about an hour and a half before the race, they told half marathoners that they would have to divert to the 10K or 5K. 

Eventually, as racers began arriving to the starting line, an email came at 7:30, alerting them all races were canceled, just half an hour before it was set to begin.

"I had woken up, ate and gotten ready and I was ready to go to the race," said Lamirato, who also said he reached out for a refund but has not heard back.

"Out of an abundance of caution, we have made the decision to cancel the race. We are very sorry and appreciate all of you that made it out this morning," the email from organizers said. "Your medal and race shirt will be mailed to you in the coming weeks. We will be in touch with next steps on the status of your entry."

Marinaro spent 12 weeks training, and after recovering from a health condition that limited her ability to exercise, this race meant a lot to her.

"This race felt like a really big milestone for me," she said.

Ronald Abels, a runner who traveled from Salt Lake City for the race and spent money on hotels and flight, chose to run anyway, along with dozens of other runners.

"They were so determined to do it," said Maria David on Sunday, toting her running bib.

According to registered runners, the cost of the half marathon varied from close to $100 to about $130, depending on when you registered. The 10k and 5k races cost less. 

Organizers told runners they will send a medal and a t-shirt to participants in the coming weeks.

"We don’t want a medal for a race we didn’t get to compete in so I really hope that they reschedule it or at least give us enrollment to defer for next year," Marinaro said.

Runners told KTVU they have not received any additional communication from the race organizers since the cancelation email yesterday.

Organizers offered a virtual race reliant on self-reporting results, but it was less appealing for runners.

KTVU reached out to organizers, but did not hear back before our deadline.