WIS Investigates: Columbia Half Marathon

WIS Investigates: Columbia Half Marathon

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The Columbia area is home to dozens of running events.

From 5K's to a full marathon and plenty of distances in between.

Some, like the Governor's Cup races earlier this month, have been around for decades.

And while most seem to go off without a hitch, one that's supposed to take place in three weeks appears to be in trouble.

It's the latest installment of what organizers call the Columbia Half Marathon, a 13.1 mile loop that starts and ends near Brookland-Cayce High School, winding through downtown Columbia to the Broad River spillway area and back.

The run is scheduled for December 13th.

But so far the company promoting it has failed to contact police or obtain a permit, something the rules say, has to be done 30 days before the event.

Columbia Police Department spokeswoman Jennifer Timmons said it's the first the first line of defense.

"So to speak for special events. It's what you need in order to have a special event in the City of Columbia," said Timmons. "As of today's date there has not been a request for such a permit related to this event."

The Columbia Half Marathon is part of a nationwide series created by the Florida-based Reinke Sports Group.

Reinke Sports Group president Dean Reinke appeared in last February's edition of an Outdoor Magazine article titled "The Shadiest Man in the Racing Biz."

The magazine and a large list of critics including city officials and running groups say Reinke often stages poorly organized events and cancels some at the last minute.

Which happened two years ago in Greenwood.

Critics also say some vendors and charities walk away empty handed.

Timmons says officers in her department had problems getting paid for working the course at a Reinke half marathon.

"Typically, they're there on a weekend, after hours, you know early in the morning. That sort of thing. And there was an issue with properly paying the officers in a timely fashion," said Timmons

Reinke's web sites do carry a warning; no "bandits, refunds, cancellations or transfers."

But the site itself has problems, including a home page that simultaneously identifies the run as fifth annual, and sixth annual.

In central Florida, the Better Business Bureau gave Reinke an "F" rating.

WIS contacted Dean Reinke's USRA organization for comment.

Reinke responded saying he was traveling to an event and would be "out of the loop" until next week.

"I understand all approvals are in place and participants are in communication," said Reinke

Reinke told WIS he'd check into the situation upon his return.

We checked with the Columbia city manager's office, the Columbia Chamber of Commerce and the Columbia Regional Sports Council.

They all said they had no contact with Reinke Sports Group in connection with this year's half marathon.

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