During an investigation by Boston Marathon officials, Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley admitted that his wife Chelsa Crowley used a fake bib with another participant's number in order to run the race together.
Kathy Brown, the runner whose number was duplicated, told WCVB in Boston that she discovered what happened when she saw Chelsa's Twitter handle on the official photos:
Brown told Team 5 Investigates she was stunned to see that a woman wearing a bib with her number. It's a number she said she earned by following the rules and raising money to fight multiple sclerosis, a disease that claimed her uncle's life.
"I was a little dumbstruck. I didn't get it at first. I said Marathonfoto must have gotten me confused with someone else," said Brown.
Chelsa Crowley, a stylist who writes about fashion for Brit.co and was editorial director at the shuttered fashion startup Quincy, tweeted "shh!!" when someone on Twitter asked if the number was counterfeit.
But the Foursquare CEO readily acknowledged the subterfuge to WCVB, claiming no ill will:
[The Crowleys] had run the marathon together last year but got separated near the finish line before the bombs went off. After that emotional experience, they wanted to run together again.
Crowley said he had an official number because he didn't finish last year but his wife couldn't get one. They said they donated $5,000 to charity this year.
Brown earned her number by raising money money to fight multiple sclerosis, after her uncle passed away from the disease. She told WCVB:
"I put that work in it and it wasn't fair that someone else didn't have to do that. That was my first thought," said Brown. [...]
"I understand she wanted to support her husband and wasn't thinking of me, or wasn't disgracing my charity. She just wanted to help her husband. But there are ways you can do that, there were probably 25,000 charity numbers, anyone could have done that. But I just think everyone should have gone about it the right way and done it the fair way that we all did," said Brown.
In response to questions from Valleywag, Crowley said he ran the Boston Marathon last year, raising $20,000 for charity. Although he was given a number this year, "We still raised $4,000 and donated to a NYC based charity."
Crowley also directed Valleywag to a comment he left on WCVB's story:
Dennis Crowley (Chelsa's husband) here chiming in on this. First of all, our apologies to anyone we offended. After running together last year, getting split up and not finishing together, we both felt like we needed to run again and finish together to get closure. I wrote a blog post about our experiences last year and my motivation to run Boston again this year: https://medium.com/editors-pic...
Yes, using a duplicate number to get Chelsa into the starting corral with me was wrong. I don't expect everyone to understand our strong need to run and and finish together — but after trying unsuccessfully to get a charity number and trying unsuccessfully to officially transfer a number from an injured-runner friend, we did what we could to make sure we could run together in hopes of finishing together.
I sent an email to Kathy Brown, the woman who rightfully earned #34033 to apologize for any disrespect, hurt feelings or confusion. Our intent was never to "steal" anything from anyone — our intent was to finish the Boston Marathon together as we tried to do last year. (#34033 = first 3 numbers of my number + "33" which is Chelsa's age. We chose a number close to my number to ensure we'd be next to each other at the start.)
Again, sincerest apologies to anyone we offended or disrespected, including the BAA and the police/fire/EMT crews that worked so hard to make sure Monday's race was safe for all runners.
Dennis + Chelsa
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[Image via @Dens]