Since our announcement on July 16th regarding our events in 2020 (read more here) we have received a lot of questions and will attempt to answer the most common ones here.
Please read these through before contacting our support as we will simply refer to the information on this page in case of any related questions. Thank you for your understanding.
Some other race organizers are offering refunds - how can they, but not you?
There is no doubt that all event organizers are in a tight spot right now since the current revenue loss is close to 100%, regardless of the type of event you are organizing. Some, e.g. Ironman, which is owned by one of the world’s largest companies in China, have substantial financial resources from other parts of their business, and thereby have the opportunity to postpone their revenues and take a great loss now. Vasaloppet is another example we often are confronted with. It is important to take in consideration that they were able to arrange their largest event right before all the Covid-19 restrictions were taken into effect and thereby managed to deliver their by far largest product. To postpone tickets for their summer week is thereby a smaller financial undertaking.
We, and many others, e.g. Stockholm Marathon, do not have any external owners with financial capital from other business areas, nor do we have any revenue streams other than our recreational events. There simply aren’t any funds to our disposal. The funds we have left are used to keep us afloat for a couple of months in hope that the crisis is stabilized and/or a government funded help package is established for the industry which has taken the largest hit.
We would most certainly offer refunds if we had the opportunity without putting ourselves in bankruptcy. We will of course refund your tickets if such emergency funds are instated by the government, as seen in other countries such as Denmark where the government take responsibility (it is they who have forced organizers to cancel, not the organizers who have chosen to do so) by reimbursing participants. We are in communication with Danish authorities regarding our event in Copenhagen, but at the time being, Swedish authorities are not offering the same help packages, although this is something we will be fighting for.
Seems that you can have yourselves a really nice vacation, now that you have taken our money without delivering any events.
No, we most definitely can not. Although our business model may be too complex to comprehend, the following may be easier to grasp: We have spent the last 8 years building a concept and brand which without a doubt has attracted most participants, received best reviews and most awards in Scandinavia. Why would we sacrifice all this just to “take advantage of the situation” or “earn some easy money”? We simply see no other way out. We hate to disappoint our customers and realize that much of what we have built is now burned to the ground. But we have no other choice if we are to survive as an actor in the industry. Vi have worked hard, and will continue work hard to find the best possible outcome as well as plan for a future post Corona.
You made a profit last year and the year before that. Should there not be enough money for refunds?
Yes, it is correct that we made a profit last year. A profit made entirely “by the book” as for any healthy business in accordance to Swedish law. The profits made last year have not been cashed out by owners but instead been invested in the company, as required by the Swedish government if you are to receive their help packages. In addition to this we have, during several years, strategically prepared for a recession and revenue losses up to 30%, but never in history have businesses needed to prepare for long-term revenue losses of 100%. This is an extremely unique situation we are facing. As a matter of fact, not even our total profits throughout the years would be enough to refund all tickets right now. We will never be able to profit from this situation, even if we wanted to (which we of course don’t). For 2021, we will do everything we can to compensate those affected now, but first, we must ensure that we survive until then.
Other actors claim that they will be able to host their events this year. Why can’t you?
Some organizers may have chosen not to inform their participants yet, but we are most certain that the enforced guidelines from authorities will be applied to everyone. Until the day these guidelines are amended, no organizer will be permitted to host their events. Same guidelines are applied to e.g. Liseberg, Gröna Lund, Astrid Lindgrens värld etc, all of which are forced to remain closed right now. There are a few, very small actors allowed to host events up to 50 persons at a time. This is unfortunately not possible for us, with thousands of participants.
Why can’t we move our tickets to next year?
If we move all our participants to next year, we will face the same problems as now. We need the income this year, as well as new income next year to survive. However, we will do everything we can to compensate those affected. The nature of these compensations are yet to be defined and may change in the future depending on eventual government funded help packages.
But Konsumentverket (government agency whose task is to safeguard consumer interests) states that I have the right to a refund in case of cancelled events?
In our line of business we need strong terms and conditions, as those we have today. These enables us to plan and make investments for our events. The legislation included in “Konsumentköplagen” and “Konsumenttjänstlagen” do not apply since starting fees are neither considered as services or products in terms of the law (1990:932 and 1985:716).
You’ve surely received the financial help packages, including temporary layoffs and conversion aids?
We have, but the issue for us is that we would have needed these help packages from the beginning of 2019 for them to have any substantial impact. These help packages are simply not adapted for an industry which more or less have been banned. But, once again, should any new government funds be rolled out to us and other actors in the industry experiencing the greatest financial crisis, we will do everything we can to make sure that a big part of these funds will be extended to our affected participants.
Why do you not try to adapt your races to comply with the current guidelines?
We have tried to find solutions to restrict crowds and gatherings at our events, but as mentioned, authorities simply say no. We have handed in loads of suggestions, including dividing the event area into zones with every participant having at least 10 square meter personal space, but we always receive the same verdict: We may not host an event with more than 50 persons throughout the entire event and event area, including personnel. Authorities also stress that, with the current circumstances, no permits will be issued for custom solutions if the entire event will gather more than 50 persons. Considering that we normally have a crew of over 100 persons working at each event, we would exceed these limitations by 100% even without any participants.
Why can’t you move the events to dates later this fall?
The current situation is too unpredictable and uncertain and our races need long preparations. In addition, the weather is not to our favour. Race dates in November and December may incur snow, ice and below zero temperatures which would make it difficult to arrange and perform our races in a safe and satisfactory manner. Above all, we need a full scale operation and personnel with long foresight which is not possible with the current limitations. Our focus will now be on the 2021 season and onwards as well as eventual activities at our training facility (keep an eye out, more info about this at a later stage).
You mention a digital race and other activities this fall. What can we expect?
More information will be announced in mid/end of August to all participants with a ticket for a Toughest 2020 race. We hope that as many as possible take the opportunity to participate and that this will give you the chance to get a great Toughest experience without our regular race. More info to come and we are looking forward to sharing these activities with you all! Simply put, there will be sweat, challenges and obstacles for those willing, although in a somewhat unordinary way.