Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley came under heavy criticism from people in Boston after it was discovered that his wife faked her way into running this year’s Boston Marathon.
Normally, this would seem like a trivial thing, but because of last year’s bombing, there was heightened sensitivity around the race.
Last year, Crowley ran in the Boston Marathon with his wife Chelsa. He never finished the race because just as he was approaching the finish line the bombs went off.
Chelsa had finished the race ahead of him, but for a moment he didn’t know where she was, or if she was safe. Eventually they met up, but it was an emotionally draining experience. He wrote about it on Medium.
This year, he was determined to run the race again, and finish. He was able to get into the Boston Marathon through Camp Interactive, a charity that helps tech technology skills to inner city youth.
He wanted Chelsa to run with him, but she didn’t have a way in. So, they made a fake bib for her to wear.
Kathy Brown, the woman whose number Chelsa copied, discovered this after she ran her race. She told a Boston TV station she picked up her medal for completion, and photos from the race. “I opened it up looking for the pictures of me and there were some in there and they came out really good, but then I saw this other woman.”
They eventually figured out it was Chelsa. “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.
On the grand scale of scandals, this seems pretty minor. But, because it was the first marathon after the bombing, it was more emotionally fraught than normal.
On Twitter, a woman named Amanda Lynne, explained why this was hurtful to people in Boston. She said that there were a lot of people that wanted to run in the marathon, but they were turned away, and they didn’t cheat their way in. Just because the Crowleys were in the race the day of the bombing doesn’t give them some special privilege to run. “Just thinking of our 1k+ military marchers turned away this year.. but u guys came in & did what u wanted..It just hurts.”
At first Dennis didn’t seem to get it, but after talking with people on Twitter, he changed his point of view, and apologized on Medium, saying:
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 honour 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.
And here are some of the tweets that spurred that apology: