Planet Tours has been the subject of a few articles on Marathon Investigation. Planet Tours is a French travel agency that specializes in marathon tours. For a single price, you pay for your bib, travel and lodging to any marathon that Planet Tours is partnered with.
The Boston Marathon does have an International travel program where they provide a very limited # of non qualifying bibs to select travel agencies. Planet Tours is not a partner of The Boston Marathon, so they have been creative in obtaining bibs for their runners.
A brief history:
2015 Boston Marathon – Falsifying Results
In one of the stories stemming from my initial review of Boston qualifiers, I stumbled upon a large number of suspicious runners that qualified for Boston at The Mt St Michel marathon in France. Through the race finish line video, I determined that 7 runners who used this race as a qualifier who did not cross the finish line of the race at the time they were credited. It eventually came out that Planet Tours had worked with the race director to add these runners to the results for the purpose of earning them bibs for The Boston Marathon.
2017 Boston Marathon – Bib Mules
In order to qualify customers for The 2017 Boston Marathon, Planet Tours resorted to a different scheme. They used bib mules to qualify runners for the 2017 race. This time, however, Marathon Investigation uncovered this prior to the 2017 race and the runners were stripped of their bibs just weeks before The Marathon.
The runner on the left, carrying the notebook, is the owner of Planet Tours, Momo Ferchichi. It was determined that he carried 3 bibs across the finish line for customers. The runner on the right was not involved.
When The BAA pulled the bibs from the runners whose bibs were muled across by Momo and others, that likely left Planet Tours in a tough spot with their customers.
It would appear likely, that for at least one customer, Ferchichi made good on the promise to obtain a Boston bib.
2018 Boston Marathon
Laetitia was one of the runners whose bibs were muled across at The Quebec City Marathon. Her Boston entry was revoked. Laetitia turned up at The 2018 Boston Marathon.
However Laetitia’s name is nowhere in the results. The bib belonged to “Elsa”. Elsa qualified for The 2018 Boston Marathon by running The 2017 Amsterdam Marathon in a time of 3:22:XX.
It is not proven whether Planet Tours was involved in obtaining Laetitia’s bib for Boston, but, in my opinion it is a distinct possibility. I don’t believe this is an ‘innocent’ case of bib swapping. This is likely a case where the original runner had no intention of running The Boston Marathon, and the bib was obtained solely for the purpose of gaining Laetitia entry to Boston. If I am correct, these actions could have potentially bumped a deserving runner from the race.
What is unclear is how they picked up the bib of another runner. Did the original runner travel to Boston? It’s possible. Did they have ID with the original runner’s information? I am unsure, but this would not have been a simple case of bib swapping. The complexity and planning that likely would have been needed to ensure that Laetitia would be able to run the race strengthen my belief that Planet Tours was likely involved.
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