A half-marathon race in Greenville is cancelled because its director didn't pay up.
Avid local runners came to 9 On Your Side to investigate the race director with a questionable past.
Dean Reinke scheduled a half-marathon for April 29th in Greenville.
But we found dozens of blogs, news reports, and cancellations from Reinke's races.
They showed he has a lengthy past of canceling or rescheduling races and taking people's money.
Greenville Police tell 9 On Your Side he had until March 15th to pay his fees for having officers cover the route of the race or Reinke's permit would get revoked.
He didn't pay in time, forcing the city to cancel his race.
You can't find the race on his website now either.
9 On Your Side called and emailed Reinke repeatedly to find out if anyone has registered and will they get their money back? Our calls and emails weren't returned.
--- Previous Story ---
9 On Your Side gets action: An upcoming half-marathon in Greenville might not happen after our watchdog investigation revealed the organizer's checkered past.
Reinke Sports Group has a permit with the city to hold a half-marathon, but with one mention of the race's organizer, Dean Reinke, and local runners have something to say.
"He doesn't know our community, he is misrepresenting our community in every way possible," says Bethann Wilkie, a Greenville runner. "People that he's claiming are sponsoring are not, and I just think that's fraudulent."
Reinke's website touts successful races in big cities across the country. But dozens of blogs and news reports warn runners to steer clear of his races, claiming he sometimes cancels or reschedules them at the last minute, then makes off with your money.
That's exactly what happened last year in Greenwood, S.C., when Reinke canceled the race one week before and didn't return registration fees. Other town leaders, like in Traverse City, M.I., denied Reinke because of previous problems with other races.
And at least two lawsuits have been filed against him - one by the city of Joplin, M.O., and one by Purdue University.
After a 9 on your side investigation revealed several Greenville organizations listed as hosts or sponsors on his website never actually agreed to support him, those groups asked Reinke to remove their names.
"He was a little bit upset that we asked him to take [our logo and name] down," says Andrew Schmidt, the sales and marketing manager for the Greenville Convention and Visitors Bureau. "But I explained to him that it was because it was inaccurate."
Since our last story aired, registration for the Greenville race disappeared, but the race is still listed on Reinke's website calendar.
We're not sure if the race will happen because he never returned any of our emails or phone calls.
Greenville police say they do not discriminate against groups who come here. They already granted Reinke a permit for his race because he followed protocol and paid the up-front costs.
However, police say if he doesn't pay about $2,000 for 18 off-duty officers to supervise his race by March 15, they will void his permit and cancel his race.
Stay tuned to 9 On Your Side for updates as our investigation continues.
--- Original Story ---
An upcoming half-marathon in Greenville could have people running... in the other direction.
Several local runners called 9 On Your Side when they suspected a marathon company coming to town this Spring is not legitimate.
So we dug deeper to uncover the truth.
Just one quick Google search pulled up article after article, and countless runners' blogs warning people to stay away from Reinke Sports Group and its CEO, Dean Reinke. They claim he cancels or reschedules races at the last minute, then makes off with your money.
"We want to make sure that people know that he's not legit," says Bethann Wilkie, an avid runner from Greenville. "It's not a real race, they're not going to run a half-marathon, and that he's going to take their money and run."
Reinke's company organizes half-marathons across the country and plans to come to Greenville on April 28th.
But our research uncovered a long list of complaints from town leaders and runners alike, earning Reinke Sports Group an "F" rating by the Better Business Bureau for failure to respond to those complaints.
Marathon runner Tyler Pake told us he is heeding a warning that came from Hal Higdon, a contributing editor to Runner's World magazine.
"If I hadn't already registered for your race in Worcester, I would keep my credit card in my pocket. Dean Reinke has a long history of failing to deliver on promises made," Higdon said.
Reinke's website lists "initial major sponsors" as the "Greenville Convention & Visitors Bureau with Beasley Radio Broadcasting and The Reflector Newspaper." But 9 On Your Side investigated and found out the three organizations never officially agreed to sponsor the event and most didn't even know they were listed until we told them.
Since we talked with them today, the three initial sponsors listed on the website have contacted Reinke asking him to remove their names.
"He doesn't know our community," Wilkie says. "He is misrepresenting our community in every way possible. People that he's claiming are sponsoring are not and I just think that's fraudulent. I think that there's something wrong with that and something should be done about it."
Reinke did not return our calls Tuesday, so we sent him an e-mail explaining our story and that we had questions for him.
This was his response:
"Sounds great but on a plane to west coast for our event this weekend and site visits. Next week better as I am back in my office thur. Check out usrahalf.com in meantime as we are growing from 16 to 28 Events in 2013.!
Greenville police told 9 On Your Side they cannot discriminate against specific groups that want to hold events in the city. And since Reinke followed protocol to apply for a permit and paid the up front costs, the race will go on as planned... for now.
After hearing about our 9 On Your Side investigation, Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas told us he's going to look into the situation to determine the legitimacy of the race and will act accordingly with the police department and city manager to protect our community.
In the meantime, 9 On Your Side will continue to bring you all the latest details as we uncover them.
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