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Dominique Piché resigns as Ironman Mont-Tremblant race director

He was lauded around the world as one of the best race directors in the sport, but after “unfortunate events during the marathon of this past weekend,” race director Dominique Piché has resigned as “Producer and Race Director of the Marathon International de Montreal and the Mont-Tremblant Ironman, Ironman 70.3 and Ironman 5150 events.”

Triathlon Magazine Canada featured Piché in our July issue, highlighting the drive and determination that saw him make Ironman Mont-Tremblant one of the sport’s premier events. Piché also put on the first Ironman world championship event to take place outside the United States when Mont-Tremblant was chosen to host the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in 2014, when the race moved from a fixed venue (then Henderson, Nevada) and began to rotate around venues around the world.

Dominique Piche with Philip Lahaye at Ironman Mont-Tremblant.

Ironman released the following statement earlier today regarding Piché ‘s resignation:

Statement from The Ironman Group regarding the Resignation of Mr. Dominique Piché

The Ironman Group announced today that it has accepted the resignation of Mr. Dominique Piché from his functions as Race Director of the Marathon International de Montréal, as well as the Mont-Tremblant Ironman, Ironman 70.3 and Ironman 5i50 events. We thank Mr. Piché for his years of loyal service, during which he demonstrated the ability to produce IRONMAN events at the highest level, with exceptional results, on the global stage. We wish him much success in his future endeavours.

You can read Piché’s letter of resignation here.

“The unfortunate events during the marathon of this past weekend, for which I publicly assumed full responsibility, as was proper in such circumstances, have led me to make this difficult decision,” Piché writes in his resignation letter. “This reflects my desire to be accountable, a quality I hold in high esteem.”

The start for this weekend’s marathon in Montreal was delayed by 50 minutes because of a lack of security along the course. According to media reports and statements made by race organizers, during the race 24-year-old Patrick Neely collapsed and died approximately two km from the finish line of the half marathon. Media outlets have reported that there is some question about how much time passed after Neely collapsed before the ambulance arrived, suggesting that police officers on the scene radioed to request an ambulance, but there was a delay before the ambulance was dispatched.

According to a Canadian Press report, “Urgences Sante spokeswoman Veronique Tremblay says first responders were called just before 10 a.m. and Neely was getting treated nearly seven minutes later, but she says that the agency doesn’t know if anyone called before that.”

On Monday race organizers issued a statement on the medical support at the event:

“Staffing, planning, and preparation related to medical support for the event [have] been ongoing for nearly a year, and all resources were appropriately in place on race day, including more than 50 AEDs [automated external defibrillators] and over 80 health professionals throughout the course, as well as eight ambulances dedicated to the event,” the statement said.

The issue with the course delay appears to have been caused when the company hired to provide security along the course didn’t have enough staff to adequately cover the event.

It’s been a difficult year for Piché – Florida triathlete Jill Levy Morris died during this year’s Ironman 70.3 Mont-Tremblant race in June.

It comes as no surprise to those who know Piché that he would be unwilling to start the race until athlete safety was ensured. It also comes as no surprise to those people that he would take responsibility for the various situations, even if factors might not have been in his control.