AGATE, Colo. (CBS4) – A long-awaited, upcoming obstacle course race near Denver has apparently gone belly up, leaving hundreds of people who signed up and paid for it in the dark.
The Muddy Mortal was set to take place in Agate this weekend. Organizers described the weekend-long event as the “world’s first obstacle course race series inspired by the world of magic and wizardry.” Registrants would experience the race as well as a fan festival with wizard-themed events like a potions class.
“It was definitely designed around Harry Potter,” said Veronica Berry, a wizard fan who signed up for the Muddy Mortal near Denver.
Berry registered for the race in October, paying $100 to take part in the obstacle course and weekend festivities.
“It seems like a lot, but they also made it sound like there would be a lot to do so it was worth it,” she said.
Last month, Muddy Mortal organizer Jamie Guined, owner of FitGeek Events, LLC based in Atlanta, reached out to Carl Miron, owner of Colorado Off Road Extreme (CORE). She asked him if the race could be held on his property.
“She just called me out of the blue and said their location manager walked out and she was left to find a venue last minute,” Miron told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann. “I’ve been wanting to hold one of these events for years, so I sent them a contract, they signed it, sent out a payment, and we were off and running.”
As the event date quickly approached, Miron noticed a few red flags. He saw other Muddy Mortal races scheduled in other cities were being cancelled or postponed, and the organizer wasn’t communicating with vendors.
“I started getting phone calls from vendors that had paid to be at this event,” Miron said. “They couldn’t get a response through emails from these people as to what was going on.”
At the same time, race registrants like Berry were getting concerned that they hadn’t received information about the big event.
“Ten days before the event I started emailing [Guined],” Berry told Werthmann. “I tried to contact her saying, ‘Is this happening? What’s going on?’ Then we started hearing rumors things are starting to cancel.”
Miron said it seemed he was the only one Guined would communicate with, sending emails expressing that the event on his property was still on, but there were issues in other cities.
“She kept saying venues double booked or the company that was supposed to set up the obstacles double booked so they had to cancel,” he said. “It was always someone else’s fault.”
Per the contract, Guined was supposed to pay Miron the remainder of the cost to host the Muddy Mortal last Friday. When that day came and went with no word from the organizer, Miron said the contract became “null and void.”
“I notified her that I had contacted the FBI in both Denver and Atlanta and within hours that’s when everything started getting pulled off her website,” he said.
As of Tuesday, the Muddy Mortal website only includes a message saying the events are cancelled, the company is bankrupt and no further refunds can be issued. The entire note reads:
“It is with deep sadness and regret that we are forced to cease all operations, effective immediately. We were unable to financially recover after several setbacks, and have been unsuccessful in securing the funding necessary to continue operations. We have exhausted every avenue available to us, but to no avail. All current and future events are cancelled. Due to our financial situation, we have proceeded with the dissolution and bankruptcy process, and are unable to provide any further refunds beyond what we have already provided. We sincerely appreciate the support of those who believed in us up until the very end. We tried to hold our heads high and push forward despite the monumental challenges we faced as a result of the widespread rumors and misinformation that were being circulated by the uninformed and those who wished to do us harm.”
Miron is now trying to organize a similar event to support those who signed up for the race and vendors who paid to take part. No date has been set for the new obstacle course event, but those who registered for the Muddy Mortal are now facing the obstacle of getting their money back.
“I’ve contacted my credit card company,” Berry said, adding advice for future race registrants, “Do some due diligence first. Check into it and see what information you can find and if it looks legitimate or not.”
CBS4 reached out to the Attorney General’s Office in Georgia and a spokesperson said they’ve received numerous complains on the Muddy Mortal and Jamie Guined in the last 24 hours. It’s not clear yet, though, if they’ll proceed with an investigation. CBS4 also reached out to Guined for comment, but emails bounced back and calls were not returned.
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team in 2012 as the morning reporter, covering national stories like the Aurora Theater Shooting and devastating Colorado wildfires. She now anchors CBS4 This Morning over the weekend and reports during the week. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @KellyCBS4.