Kara Bonneau didn’t intend to run the Boston Marathon again when she went to the event in 2013, but after being only a few blocks away when the bombs went off she decided to go back and support the city. She registered, picked up her bib number and raced.
A few days after the event, the Durham, N.C., runner got an email from MarathonFoto with pictures of her at the event, only they weren’t of her. Four other athletes had printed Bonneau’s bib number off after she posted a picture of it to Facebook and Instagram.
“I know there always have been and always will be bandits, but it never occurred to me that they would use my photo in this way,” said Bonneau. “I will definitely never post a bib photo prior to a race again, and hope other people who see this story will think twice about what they share online.”
There were photos of them racing, posing with their medals and celebrating
“It was infuriating! […] So many people worked really hard to qualify or raise money for charity in order to run this race. It just isn’t right.”
Bonneau doesn’t know who any of the bandits are, but they may become known soon. She posted the photos of them online to her social media accounts and the story took off from there, some infuriated that fellow runners could be so nefarious while others argued the bandit culture has always been a part of the sport.
One of the runners is wearing a Big River Running singlet, a running store in St. Louis, Mo.
“We are aware of this picture that is circulating,” Big River Running said is an email statement. “Big River does not condone the behaviour of any individuals who take part in this practice. In regards to the woman wearing the Big River singlet, we do not recognize her and are appalled she chose to wear one of our singlets while wearing a counterfeit bib.”
As for Bonneau, she hopes the runners can be caught and brought to justice.
“There isn’t much that can be done at this point, but I hope they are banned from future races.”