Area runners are getting the runaround from local race organizers.

An April 15 Sports story reported that the company that organized the canceled Washington D.C. Marathon has filed for bankruptcy, making it difficult for the runners, who paid $65 to $95 each, to recover their fees.

Similarly, the 19th Annual Governor's Bay Bridge Run, scheduled for May 4 in Annapolis, has been canceled because of security concerns. Race organizers have stated on their Web site (www.annapolisstriders.org) that they will give entrants a promotional item that they "feel confident . . . will [be] worth the price of admission." This is on the heels of the 2002 Annual Governor's Bay Bridge Run, which was canceled because of high winds and for which entrants didn't receive refunds of their $30 fees.

Organizers of these races offer discounts for early registration and in some cases prohibit race-day registration. As a result, runners who wish to participate are subject to the whims of nature, security concerns or even the organization's fiscal soundness. While organizers have to spend a certain amount of money up front to put on a race that is never run, these organizations should be held to some legal, if not ethical, obligation to refund at least a significant portion of runners' entrance fees.

DAVID S. WARNER

Odenton