CEO of Foursquare in the middle of Boston Marathon ‘Bibgate’

Image from Dennis Crowley's twitter account
Image from Dennis Crowley's twitter account

Multiple news outlets, including Boston.com, have been covering “Bibgate” over the past 24 hours, and now website Valleywag is reporting another wrinkle to the story of runners using counterfeit bibs to run this year’s Boston Marathon.

It seems that one of the runners involved in forging numbers is the chief executive of Foursquare, Dennis Crowley. He produced a fake bib for his wife, Chelsa, it was reported by WCVB.

Crowley, who lives in New York and had an official number for the race, posted a comment from the couple on the website of WCVB today in response to a report from the news station. The station had reported that runner Kathy Brown noticed Chelsa, who wore her Twitter handle under the number, wearing the same number as Brown in the official photos from the race.

Crowley admitted in his statement that using a duplicate number was wrong and said the couple made the fake bib because of the “strong need to run and finish together,” after being split up last year. (Dennis did not finish the race last year, Chelsa did.)

Crowley said in his comment that the couple tried unsuccessfully to get a charity number, but when that failed, he said, “We did what we could to make sure we could run together in hopes of finishing together.”

The Foursquare founder also apologized to Brown, the Boston Athletic Association, and all the police, fire, and emergency medical crews who worked the race in his statement.

Counterfeiting bibs, a way for unregistered runners to get into the start corrals in Hopkinton, is a new high tech way for “bandit” runners to sneak into the race that is a challenge for anyone to get a number for. These days, most big road races, from the Falmouth Road Race to the Boston Marathon, have official photography companies, like MarathonFoto, on the course to take pictures that runners can then purchase online after the event.

After looking at their pictures online, many people like Brown have started to notice other runners appearing with the same number on the photo site.

One runner, Kara Bonneau, of Durham, North Carolina, thinks her bib was “stolen” after she posted an image of it on Instagram prior to the race. In Bonneau’s case, at least four other runners, two of them former Boston College cross-country runners, took the online image of the bib and made copies of it to use on race day.

Dennis Keohane was a Senior Staff Writer for BetaBoston.
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