Montreal Marathon race director apologizes for late start

Race director Dominic Piché said he takes responsibility for the delay and blames it on a "lack of resources."

Race began 50 minutes late, as hundreds of runners waited at the start line

The Montreal Marathon's new race director, Dominic Piché, said he took the blame for the 50-minute delay to the race's start Sunday morning. (Radio-Canada)

Hundreds of runners had to rein in their enthusiasm before their 42-km and 22-km races in Montreal this morning. They had to wait for 50 minutes at the start line before they were finally given the go-ahead at close to 8 a.m.

Two hours later, the Montreal Marathon's new race director, Dominic Piché, issued a mea culpa on live television, saying he takes responsibility for the delay. 

"This marathon is an institution, it's a privilege to be a part of it and I am profoundly, profoundly — I want to say sorry to everybody," Piché told a scrum of reporters near the finish line at Place des Arts. 

Piché blamed the late start on a "lack of resources," and when pressed by reporters, said that lack of resources was in fact a shortage of staff and volunteers to supervise the fences blocking off roads along the races' routes. 

"I would never give the go-ahead if I don't feel completely guaranteed that when they're done they will have had a good experience because they are all my children this weekend," he said. 

Organizers worked overnight to come up with solution

Piché said he became aware of the shortage at 10:30 p.m. Saturday and had been working until the morning to rectify the issue. 

"But we weren't able to make it in time," he said, adding the race's new route, altered because of road construction, may have contributed to the shortage.

Piché said he is a former officer with Montreal police and that security is important to him. He also thanked Montreal police for stepping in and helping to make up for the shortage. 

Piché is also the longtime director of Ironman Tremblant. A CBC investigation revealed a triathlete's death at that race in June may have been more than a simple "medical event," as organizers had said. 

Floridan Jill Levy Morris was run over by a service vehicle while finishing the bike portion of the race.

Her husband, Ken Morris, decried organizers' "vague, cryptic" account of her death