Montreal

Major sponsor pulls out of Montreal marathon, citing 'significant' failures

The company, Lassonde, had sponsored the race for 17 years through its juice brand, Oasis. It announced on Friday that it would not be renewing the sponsorship agreement.

A 24-year-old runner died during last year's race, which began nearly an hour late

Lassonde's Oasis brand will no longer be associated with the race as of this year. (Radio-Canada)

One of the major sponsors of the Montreal marathon announced that it is pulling out of the event, citing "a significant number of failures" in last year's race.

The company, Lassonde, had sponsored the race for 17 years through its juice brand, Oasis.

It announced on Friday it would not be renewing the sponsorship agreement.

"Over the past few years, the Montreal International Marathon has experienced a significant number of shortcomings in the organization and running of its races," the company said in a press release.

"To Lassonde's great disappointment, these shortcomings continued in the past few races, including the unfortunate incidents that occurred in 2019."

Patrick Neely, 24, died during the race last year after he went into cardiac arrest two kilometres from the finish line. 

Urgences-santé said at the time that the race's first-aid teams were not on the scene when first responders arrived, over 20 minutes after Neely had collapsed.

The race itself also began almost an hour late. The race director, Dominique Piché, said it was because there was not enough staff to secure the course.

Piché resigned three days later and wrote that he accepts full responsibility for what happened during the 2019 edition, saying that his resignation stems from his "desire to be accountable."

He had also organized the triathlon in Mont-Tremblant, where last year, a Florida triathlete died after she was crushed under the wheels of a support vehicle.

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