SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake officials have set a hard deadline for deciding whether or not the Salt Lake Marathon will happen.
In an email to Hank Zemola, CEO of Chicago Special Events Management, which has been contracted to deal with permitting issues for U.S. Road sports, the city lays out very specific requirements that must be met by Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 5 p.m. in order for the company to stage the marathon on April 21.
"While we have been optimistic with the progress we have seen the last couple of days, there is still much to be done and it was good to sit down and go over the changes to the route required for the SLC Marathon to function," said the email from Tyler Curtis, the city's events manager. "We have, however, been surprised to learn that U.S. Road Sports and Special Events Management are perhaps tied to Devine; this raises concerns that the relationship has been misrepresented to us. We decided to move forward in good faith believing we were dealing with a new owner, new slate and were leaving the past issues of this race behind us."
In doing that, the city asks new race officials to do several things:
—Submit a complete special events application with proposed revised route.
—Submit copies of the completed application to the other municipalities, locations and organizations impacted by the proposed route. Among those: Salt Lake County, Salt Lake Valley Health Department, South Salt Lake, Murray City, Holladay City, UTA, UDOT, and the University of Utah.
U.S. Road sports or its representatives must also provide contact information for the barricade companies that will provide barricades and signs for the race.
Zemola said he was a little taken aback by the implication that he is working Devine. He has owned and operated his company, Chicago Special Events Management, since 1988. The company produces more than 100 events annually, about 40 of which are running events.
Zemola was hired by Devine to help with aspects of a couple of races, including the West Palm Beach marathon in December. There were issues in that marathon, but he said the problems occurred with areas of the race for which Devine was responsible, including water shortages and not enough finishers medals.
That race is still owned by Devine racing, but Zemola said it would likely be sold to a third party.
"We have learned to expect the unexpected from what they've done in the past," said Zemola, who said his company had to hire people to work the race as there weren't enough volunteers.
Zemola was leaving to attend to other business Thursday but said he still had representatives working on the permitting issues in Salt Lake City.
Art Raymond, spokesman for the mayor's office said the city is doing all it legally can to ensure vendors and runners are dealt with fairly. City officials talked with Peter Handy, owner of U.S. Road Sports the company that purchased the race last Friday, and Raymond said they felt it was best to allow them a few more days to prove they can stage the race.
Handy told the Deseret News Wednesday night that they made a down payment to Devine last week and that they'd personally distributed some checks from Devine's lawyer to vendors. The reality is that the new owners are not legally obligated to pay bills that Devine failed to pay.
"Chris owes those vendors," he said. "He is not off the hook."
While city officials try to determine if U.S. Road Sports can pull off the race in two months, Active.com continues to allow runners to register with no warning about possible problems. Raymond said his office fields calls daily from runners who have not only paid registration fees of about $100, but have planned to travel to Utah for the race from all over the country.
"We're in a very difficult position," said Raymond, adding that the city is doing the best it can to ensure everyone is dealt with fairly.