January 1, 2016
At 12 midnight, 2015 came to a close and so did the first part of the $100,000 challenge that LetsRun.com has offered to the “Viral Marathon Dad” Mike Rossi.
In July, we wrote a piece detailing how the evidence was beyond a reasonable doubt that Rossi (a 48-year-old Pennsylvania resident who gained nationwide fame when he posted a proposed snarky response on Facebook to a letter he received from the principal at his kids’ school scolding him for his kids’ unexcused absences that resulted from them watching him compete in the 2015 Boston Marathon) was a marathon cheat.
Nothing in Rossi’s running history indicated he was capable of anything close to the 3:11:45 Boston Marathon qualifying time he was given credit for at the 2014 Lehigh Valley Marathon and when that fact was combined with the fact that Rossi was the only finisher at Lehigh Valley who didn’t show up in the race photos, it was clear to us that he didn’t run the full 26.2 miles. We were upset that Rossi wasn’t disqualified from Lehigh Valley and outlined the evidence against Rossi in a lengthy nearly 3,500-word article.
We were so convinced that it was physiologically impossible for the novice runner Rossi to have run the 3:11:45 Boston Marathon qualifying time that we offered him $100,000 if he repeated the feat in the next year starting from July 16, 2015. We even offered him $10,000 if he simply could run a 3:25:00 Boston qualifying time as it was obvious to us even that type of time was extremely unlikely for Rossi.
We were so certain that it was obvious to any student of the sport that Rossi had cheated that we even offered him $10,000 if he could simply run times that a 3:11:45 marathoner should be easily able to run at either 5k (20:00, equivalent to a 3:14:53 marathon) or 10 miles (70:00, equivalent to a 3:16:30 marathon) by December 31, 2015, as we figured he might claim he didn’t have time to train for a marathon. As of midnight last night, Rossi failed to hit either of the 20:00 or 70:00 times, supporting our assertion that Rossi clearly cheated at Lehigh Valley in 2014. After Rossi allegedly ran a 20:25 5k on November 28 that we once again had doubts about, we even offered Rossi $1,000 to simply run a 21:30 5,000 on the track that we could live stream, but Rossi didn’t race again the rest of the year.
Rossi still has the opportunity until July 15, 2016, to prove LetsRun.com wrong by running a full marathon in either under 3:25:00, which would earn him $10,000, or 3:11:45, which would earn him $100,000. We’re so confident that it’s physiologically impossible for Rossi to have run 3:11:45 that we are going to double our sub-3:11:45 challenge to $200,000. If Rossi breaks 3:11:45 by July 15, 2016, we’ll pay him $100,000 and pay $100,000 to Via of the Lehigh Valley, the charity behind the Lehigh Valley Marathon.*
The Rossi cheating saga has certainly touched a nerve in the running community as more than 20,000 posts were posted in 2015 on the Mike Rossi thread on our message board: MB: Did Mike Rossi (viral marathon dad) cheat his way into Boston?
*Payments will be made over the span of 10 years – $20,000 each year – and all we require is it be done on a non-overly aided course (can’t be run down a mountain) and that we are given one week’s notice so we can ensure Rossi doesn’t cut the course and so we can set-up one pre- and one post-race drug test.