HUNDREDS of runners signed up to a phantom charity run in the Capital – the second time a suspected fraudster has targeted the city in a week.
A glitzy website sold tickets at up to £23 each for the 5km-10km She Runs The Night fun run around Arthur’s Seat on Friday.
But Holyrood Park said the event was never confirmed after organisers failed to submit even preliminary paperwork.
Yet tickets were on sale for six months and respected city charities were contacted by a William Anderson asking if they wished to enter runners.
The fiasco echoes a phantom fitness expo at Meadowbank also organised by a William Anderson and exposed by the Evening News last week.
Leith Walk-based personal trainer Tracy Griffen paid £16 to enter after spotting the run on Facebook in March – and approached the organiser to offer her expertise.
“He seemed like a nice guy but when I offered to help he seemed disorganised and unsure whether it was something they would need,” said Tracy.
“He asked me whether I thought also organising a naked run would be feasible – I was a bit surprised.”
Tracy encouraged one of her clients to sign up too but grew suspicious when realising their were no streetlights along the route and no race numbers arrived last week.
The event was organised under the name therunningclinic.co.uk – a similar name to a reputable and unconnected firm The Running Clinic.
“Either he’s done quite a canny scam, or took on more than he could deal with,” said Tracy.
Managers of Holyrood Park, Historic Environment Scotland, confirmed held provisional dates were cancelled after required paperwork failed to materialise.
“We also raised concerns about the events with the relevant authorities,” added the spokeswoman.
Attempts to contact William Anderson and therunningclinick.co.uk were unsuccessful but ticket buyers are covered by the UK chargeback scheme.
Charities approached by William Anderson have reported the event to fraud police.
Healthcare charity EMMS International had eight runners signed up to She Runs the Night and held their own event on Saturday.
Louise Macleod, Head of Events at EMMS International, said: “We are so grateful for the commitment of these runners and that they weren’t put off by the scam and still wanted to raise money for people in Malawi”.
Laura Plumb, of Linkup Support Centre in Lochend, said eight supporters embarked on a run on Friday regardless.
“This was a massive blow and very disappointing. However, the team did not want to be defeated,” she added.
Beverly Burnham-Jones of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust said: “We urge anyone thinking of fundraising for us not to be put off by this activity and to check the Trust’s website for details on all the exciting ways they can get involved to make a real difference.”