A Facebook page Northwest Half Marathons began sharing a poster in early March advertising a Enumclaw Half Marathon scheduled for the weekend of September 14 and September 15, but follow it through a few links online and questions arise.
Why is the advertised website www.EnumclawHalf.com a broken link?
And why is it when you go to the official USRA Half Marathon Series website and look for "Enumclaw Half Marathon," and you'll find the link all the content corresponds to a race that took place in Edmonds last fall?
You could call it a misunderstanding.
Dean Reinke, president of Reinke Sports Group which organizes the races, told Enumclaw Patch this week he began speaking with Enumclaw Expo Center marketing director Kristen Damazio about a year ago regarding a possible race event and came to town this February to tour local amenities and a potential route.
When he left, he said an agreement was reached and so marketing materials began to surface. That was, he said, until Damazio responded last week to him that the city did not want to pursue the event with his organization.
According to Reinke, Damazio went back on the agreement, telling him it was because of rumors she'd heard about his organization.
Not exactly, said Damazio. No agreements were signed nor prices agreed upon when the visit was complete, she said, and she had subsequently received a warning from another city in Washington not to work with Reinke due to past allegations of bad business practices. Representatives from that city asked not to be identified, she said.
The event also was not worth the use of city resources financially, she said, given the work that the Reinke group, based in Florida, had wanted the city to take care of for both a race and a health expo.
"I've invested time, energy and money going in there," Reinke said of developing the Enumclaw race. For him, "a verbal agreement is just as valid as a written agreement."
It doesn't take much Googling to turn up negative items about Reinke, but he said those past items don't negate the positive work his organization has done in the last few years, including endorsements from Runner's World magazine, runners themselves and sports commissioners in the 18 markets (up to possibly 30 next year) where the Reinke Sports Group holds half marathons.
The Reinke group did put on a successful half marathon last fall in Edmonds even as comments circulated about the organization and past races (See Edmonds Patch article).
For the time being, Reinke said he's going to continue exploring ways to hold the event in Enumclaw, and Damazio said she didn't discourage him from pursuing it though indicated the city wouldn't be taking part.
At the same time, he won't be able to work endlessly on it. "We'd love to try to do the event there and put some energy into it, but we won't go crazy," he said.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the Facebook event created for the Enumclaw race indicated more information is "to be announced."