Puma Toronto Women’s Run Series: Apartheid is not stylish.


Send letter to Puma Toronto Women’s Run Series and Canada Puma HQ


On December 2, 2022, the Toronto Women’s Run Series, the country’s largest women’s running series, announced that PUMA would be the multi-year official sponsor of their race series.

The following letter was sent, and thus far no response has been received.

February 9, 2023

Regarding: Puma Toronto Women’s Run Series


Cory Freedman, Founder and Race Director

Trish Krause, Brand and Communications Strategist

Lisa Peirce, Registration Director

Michael Brennan, Race Logistics Director

Kathryn Handford, Logistics and Procurement Director

Melanie Edwards, Volunteer Director

Dear Puma Toronto Women’s Run Series Leadership:

We were very disappointed to learn on December 2, 2022, that the Toronto Women’s Run Series, the country’s largest women’s running series, announced that PUMA would be the multi-year official sponsor of your race series.

Mr. Freedman you indicated it was “with immense pride and pleasure” that you announced the agreement and you looked forward to sharing “more about this collaboration,” and you were  confident the partnership would “foster opportunities to enable women to continue to set the pace and to support each other.”

Perhaps Mr. Freedman, you and your team failed to do your research when forming this partnership. If you had done your homework, you would have surely understood that Puma is involved in violations of international law and the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.

Puma is the main sponsor of the Israel Football Association (IFA), which includes teams in Israel’s illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land. Israel’s military occupation expels Palestinian families, including children, from their homes to give way for these settlements. Israeli settlements are considered war crimes under international law.

Perhaps, Mark Maguire, Sr. VP, Sales of Puma Canada failed to disclose to you that he personally has been receiving thousands of letters since 2019 letting him know that consumers will not purchase Puma products until the company stops this unethical practice, and until the Puma logo is no longer featured on the website for the Israel Football Association (IFA). Puma officials globally have also  been receiving the clear message to end their relationship with IFA.

The first sentence in Puma’s “Code of Conduct” is “Puma respects human rights”; Canadians and people from around the world have called on Puma to live up to that commitment for many years.

On February 1, 2022, Amnesty International published a report titled “Israel’s apartheid against Palestinians: Cruel system of domination and crime against humanity” accusing Israel of committing the crime of apartheid.

You can read the full report at:  https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde15/5141/2022/en/

The report says that “Since its establishment in 1948, Israel has pursued an explicit policy of establishing and maintaining a Jewish demographic hegemony.” Amnesty also exposes the involvement of “almost all of Israel’s civilian administration and military authorities… in the enforcement of the system of apartheid against Palestinians across Israel, in the West Bank and Gaza,” as well as “against Palestinian refugees and their descendants outside the territory.”

The Amnesty report follows reports including:

•  “A regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This is apartheid” published in January 2021 by Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem,  and

• “A Threshold Crossed“ published in April 2021 by the New York-based group Human Rights Watch (HRW), which finds Israel guilty of committing “the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution” against the indigenous Palestinian people.

Given Puma is involved in violations of international law and human rights as a main sponsor of the Israel Football Association (IFA), the Toronto Women’s Run Series needs to consider how this reflects on their own  image and integrity through this flagship sponsorship.

Your press release said “this agreement between PUMA and the Toronto Women’s Run Series will include providing high performance apparel to help runners perform stronger and look stylish at the same time.”  We can assure you complicity with apartheid and war crimes are not at all “stylish” or an image you would want to be tarnished with. Surely, you do not want to be complicit in sports-washing with those participating also being tainted through not just the sponsorship but accepting a gift of 4500 pairs of free Puma running shoes.

You say your goal “is to provide the most fun, inclusive and supportive races possible for every woman who wants to get out and set their own pace..”

There is absolutely nothing fun, inclusive nor supportive about apartheid, nor international law and human rights violations. If you are truly dedicated to offering “a racing season that motivates and inspires women to come set the pace” you need to denounce the Puma’s sponsorship of the IFA” and encourage your partner to end that contract immediately.


The Canadian BDS Coalition

ACAT, France

Americans Committed to Justice and Truth

Australia Solidarity with Latin America (ASLA)

Australians for Palestine

BDS Vancouver/Coast Salish Territories

Bruce R. Allen Paralegal

Canada Palestine Association

Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid, Victoria

Early Childhood Development Intercultural Partnerships

Human Rights March, Denmark

Independent Left (Ireland)

Jews for Palestinian Right of Return

Just Peace Advocates

Knowledge Track Inc.

LifeRock Financial

Northern New Jersey Jewish Voice for Peace

Oakville Palestinian Rights Association

Occupy Bergen County

Palestine House, Mississauga

Palestine Solidarity, St. John’s Newfoundland

Palestinian Canadian Congress

Peace Alliance Winnipeg

Regina Peace Council

SE London Friends Palestine

The Palestinian Working Women Society for Development, Palestine

United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine and Israel (UNJPPI)


Mark Maguire, Senior VP, Canada

Curtis Begg – PUMA Canada, Sr Director, Marketing

Robert Philion, CEO, Puma North America


READ more about Canadian Coalition BDS campaign asking Puma Canada to take action to end its apartheid complicity.

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