The future of Brighton marathon was plunged into further doubt today after it emerged that the company that runs the race, Grounded Events, had filed a notice of intention to appoint an administrator amid spiralling debts and mounting legal cases.
Documents seen by Runner's World show that the company, which is over £1.2m in debt according to accounts filed with Companies House in April, filed the application at the start of November. It comes amid numerous claims that it has failed to fully pay prize money from races dating back more than a year – despite repeated requests from exasperated runners.
A notice of application is usually the first step towards going into administration, and it gives a company a moratorium during which its creditors cannot take legal action or continue with existing legal proceedings against it without the court’s permission.
It comes amid growing concern among runners about its inability to pay prize money or refunds after the company suffered substantial losses during the pandemic.
As Runner's World reported in September, multiple previous winners of the Brighton marathon have taken out County Court Judgements in order to try to have their debts paid. They include Alix Ramsier, who won this year’s race but has yet to receive his £2,000 prize.
Grounded Events have also been taken to the small claims' court after failing to pay refunds after another race it organises, the Ragnar Relay Series, was cancelled. Two county court judgements were made against the company just last month, requiring it to pay two creditors £500 and £2,471.
Yet despite the financial concerns surrounding Grounded Events, the Brighton Marathon page remained open for entries for April 2023 until yesterday.
Its website also states in its FAQs that “the Brighton Marathon and BM10k events hold a UKA license with runbritain for the 2023 events.” However a UKA spokesperson told Runners World that the information was incorrect, and that the race does not hold a licence.
A UKA licence is not mandatory, but it does mean that results would not go on the official RunBritain/Power of 10 site and would not be valid for Good for Age or Championship places at London Marathon or any other equivalent events.
A spokesperson for Brighton and Hove council said that they would be meeting Global Events later this week, but confirmed to Runner's World that the company would not be allowed to host next year’s race unless they settled all debts from previous year’s races.
"We are committed to hosting a Brighton Marathon next year,” they said. “But we have made it clear to Grounded Events that we will not provide full landlords consent for the use of city space unless they fulfil the criteria we have set out for them.
“This includes the settling of all outstanding debts from previous years. We are aware that they now stated their intention to appoint administrators as a protective measure. We are meeting them later this week to understand the implications of this in terms of their request to run the Brighton Marathon next year.”
Ground Events did not respond for a request for comment by the time of publication.
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