Says it won’t accept donation from organizer
The Alzheimer Society of Newfoundland and Labrador has decided not to accept any money from the organizer of an event that has left some participants angry about how it turned out.
James Cadigan of Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove makes his way through the mud crawl, the final obstacle in last month’s Mud Immortal event at Butter Pot Provincial Park. — Telegram file photo
The event was Mud Immortal and the man behind it is Jonathan Brett, who promoted it on the website as an adventure challenge in Butter Pot Provincial Park with eight obstacles, most of them involving mud.
It was supposed to wrap up with a kitchen party complete with food vendors, a barbecue, beer and other beverages and live entertainment, as well as prizes for the fastest times and best costumes. The event was a money-making venture, but Brett told The Telegram the day before it happened he would be handing a portion of the registration fee, 100 per cent of the beer sales and a $5 fee for a shuttle bus to Butter Pot from
St. John’s to the Alzheimer Society of Newfoundland and Labrador. As well, he said, he had partnered with the Salvation Army, and bins would be onsite to collect donations of muddy clothes and footwear after the race, which he would have professionally cleaned and donated.
A total of 5,134 people registered for the race, paying between $70 and $90 each. Dozens of them have contacted The Telegram to share their disappointment. Hundreds have posted on the Mud Immortal Facebook site to express their anger, as well as on a separate site created specifically for the purpose.
A rough estimate on the math puts the minimum amount of money raised at $357,000 — none of which was given to the Alzheimer Society.
“We did hear he was getting ready to make a donation to the society,” said Shirley Lucas,the society’s executive director.
“And after careful review and consultation our board has decided at this particlar point in time we are going to decline the donation, because it is not in the best interest of the organization,” she told The Telegram Thursday.
Lucas said as a result of what happened with Brett and the Mud Immortal event, Lucas said the society is also going to review donations from third-party groups.
“It’s been difficult, to say the least.”
The event was held Sept. 22 with participants complaining about a 2 1/2-hour wait in a lineup to register, a lack of parking, no timing chips, unsafe and shoddy obstacles — two of which broke and were taken out of commission — no barbecue or food of any kind, no prizes (apart from a participant medal) and boil-order drinking water provided without having been boiled. A promised shuttle at the finish line to bring participants back to the start was non-existent, they said, and they were forced to make the 1.5-kilometre trek on foot. The $5 bus fee to the park wasn't collected, and there was nowhere visible to donate clothes, they said.
Brett, a local businessman, issued a news release two days later offering an apology to those who found the Mud Immortal event didn’t meet their expectations.
“I fully recognize that there were problems with the Mud Immortal Challenge and sincerely regret that the event was not all that everyone hoped it could be. While some of those problems were completely beyond our control, we fully appreciate the frustration being expressed by some participants and have learned many valuable lessons which will improve the organization of all future events.”
At that time, Brett said, he would fulfil his commitments to charity. Clothing donated at the event is being cleaned and will be donated to the Salvation Army, and he plans to present to the Alzheimer Society of Newfoundland and Labrador a “sizeable cash contribution,” he wrote in the release.