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Foursquare CEO Apologizes After Wife Sneaks Into Boston Marathon

Chelsa Crowley, wife of Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley, ran the Boston Marathon with a fake bib because the couple said they "felt like we needed to run again and finish together to get closure" after failing to finish the race last year.

Posted on April 26, 2014, at 12:31 p.m. ET

Security was heightened at the Boston Marathon this year after last year's bombings. There was also a crackdown on those running with fake bibs in a race others paid for, raised money for, and for which they had to train and qualify.

Greg M. Cooper / Reuters

But one woman who ran the race without registering, Chelsa Crowley, was caught after the rightful owner of her fake bib, numbered 34033, noticed her in a photo under the bib number.

Crowley was caught because she wrote her Twitter handle — @chelsa — on her fraudulent bib.

Chelsa's husband Dennis, the CEO of Foursquare, came forward after the allegations surfaced to say that they felt a strong need to "run and finish together" after the couple was unable to complete last year's race.

During the 2013 Boston Marathon, Chelsa finished the race right before the bombings, but Dennis was stopped shortly before the finish line. Because he was stopped, Dennis automatically qualified for a bib this year, but Chelsa did not.

Dennis wrote and published a letter on behalf of his wife, in which he said using a duplicate number was "wrong" and that he didn't "expect everyone to understand our strong need to run and and finish together."

Hey all -

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 (Chelsa finished, I did not), 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:

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

Critics pointed out that she could have made a charitable donation to receive a bib, but in his letter he said they tried to get a charity number and failed. They also said they tried to transfer a number from an injured friend.

After critics attacked the couple on Instagram and Twitter, Crowley released another statement on his wife's behalf, which she tweeted from her account. She has yet release a statement apologizing for herself.

Hey all — a few final thoughts from today:

It's clear that both Chelsa and I lost perspective on how our actions could be hurtful to others. What we did was wrong and we're sorry. Our biggest regret is that our actions have overshadowed the event for those who ran and ran to honor others.

I grew up right outside Boston and this race means so much to me and my family. Chelsa and I are going to work to make this right, but out of the public eye.

The Boston Marathon is about something much bigger than us, and we appreciate the reminder.


Apologies to all & our final thoughts on today

Chelsa Crowley@chelsa

Apologies to all & our final thoughts on today

07:02 PM - 25 Apr 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

@chelsa The fake Boston bib was in such poor taste. You have to earn that race, not cheat your way in.


@chelsa The fake Boston bib was in such poor taste. You have to earn that race, not cheat your way in.

03:54 PM - 25 Apr 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Lots of other people reportedly ran with forged bibs. One Facebook user posted an image of four runners who used her bib number.


"These people all printed out a photo of my bib and then ran the race. This is so unfair to everyone who worked hard to qualify or raised money for charities. They should be ashamed of themselves."

Although she hasn't apologized on her own, Chelsa did upload this picture to Instagram this week with the caption: "Heading to DC for Nike Women's Half Marathon and strategizing on how to even out my tan lines from #Boston."

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.