So just to quickly make sure everyone is on the same page on what I will be talking about - Spartan Race Malaysia was supposed to have its Spartan Beast on 8 October at a tbc location in Kuala Lumpur. The key details here being: 8 October and Kuala Lumpur.
This has been promoted and pushed in their offers, partnerships and promotional materials including the APAC poster.
And then...two months before the race, we learnt that Spartan Race had decided to move the date to 9 December and the venue to Johor Bahru still at an undetermined address. It will be a three race-event consisting of an Ultra-Beast, Beast and Sprint now and is also part of the Singapore Beast leg (well, seeing as they have literally no room for a Beast on that island...)
Racers were given several options following this announcement:
1. Automatically have your Beast race entry shifted over to the Dec 9th event. No action is required.
2. Defer your entry to a 2018 race. You can do this in your Chronotrack athlete account. There will be no deferment fee charged from now until the 17th of August. Please email our Customer team if you need assistance with deferring.
3. Get a full refund. Please email our Customer Service Team.
Let us pause here for one second and process the implication of this.
Now this is just me as a long-time participant of Spartan Race and a OCR junkie wanting to voice my thoughts and air my grievances over the latest Spartan Race Malaysia debacle. You may agree or disagree with me but again, these are just my personal thoughts. Okay, let us begin...
I'll be honest. I am not happy. I'll have to give up one day of work leave to travel to Johor to do the race, spending more time and money for this race just so I can complete my Trifecta for 2017. But my situation pales in comparison to those who are flying in and have already paid for their hotel bookings and flights and taken leave from work for the October event.
Although there has been no official statement by Spartan Race as to why this drastic change was made, there has been speculations:
1) Ultra Beast - People have calling out for an Ultra Beast and to accommodate that request, Spartan Malaysia decided to jump the gun and introduce it this year.
2) Venue - Despite announcing JW Marriott KL as their hotel sponsor, they still went ahead with Johor Bahru. I am guessing - a) they couldn't find a new venue to do the race that hasn't been taken by other OCRS or b) a new venue sponsor popped up and gave them an offer they couldn't refuse.
3) Two Countries, One event - There will be no Spartan Beast Sg as they have decided to now merge it with Malaysia. Johor being the "middle-ground" for both. Last I check, Johor is nearer to Singapore than Kuala Lumpur. Interestingly, there are still two different price points for both countries.
4) More money - instead of announcing a whole new event all together in December, they opted to cancel the October event instead. Possibly to minimise their operation and building costs at the expanse of their participants and to rack in entry fees from both Malaysia and Singapore. With the event set on Malaysian grounds and costs low due to our crappy currency, they will obviously earn a lot from the Singapore participants who are charged in SG dollar.
If anything, my take away from this move is that Spartan Race Malaysia is focused on rolling in the dough and knowing that Malaysians wouldn't really pull out from the race (last leg of the Trifecta, peer pressure etc etc), Spartan will still go ahead with this ass move. This reminds me of the time when they declared the 2015 Sprint counted in the 2016 Trifecta, going back on their own Spartan code to suit the whims of Malaysians and also to push sign ups for the Super event.
Spartan really needs to take a look at how Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur and Dirigo Events handled their crisis when they had to change the event date due to some bossy higher power but eventually changed it back to the original date at the behest of its customers and runners.) Perhaps Spartan have forgotten about they were on the losing end when Khairy almost ffk their event to hijack SCKLM.
So, these are just my thoughts. I will still go for the Spartan Beast in Johor because once again, it has been paid for, I am committed to my Trifecta and it doesn't affect me as drastically as those in the North and from overseas. But in future I would think twice about spending my money for a Spartan Race set in Malaysia and Singapore. For now, Spartan Race Australia is the only race organisers I still have utter faith in when it comes to this brand.