One Of The Largest Cash Prizes In Road Racing History Goes Unclaimed – 48-Year-Old Pennsylvania Viral Marathon Dad, Mike Rossi, Misses Out On $200,000 Challenge To Replicate His Marathon Personal Best

July 18, 2016

One of the largest cash prizes ever offered in the history of road racing has gone unclaimed.

On July 16, 2015, offered viral marathon dad Mike Rossi $100,000 if he ran a 3:11:45 marathon, a time that he claims he ran at the 2014 Lehigh Valley Marathon, in the next 365 days. On January 1, we doubled our offer to $200,000 – a sum that dwarfs the amount of money offered by any of the six Abbott World Marathon Majors for first place.

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Abbott World Marathon Majors
Prize Money For 1st Place

Berlin – $44,300 (€ 40,000)
London – $55,000*
Tokyo – $75,300 (JPY 8,000,000)
Chicago – $100,000
New York – $100,000
Boston – $150,000

We knew our money was safe. Rossi, a 48-year-old father of two from Pennsylvania, gained internet fame in April 2015 when he posted a snarky response on Facebook to a letter he received from the principal at his kids’ school scolding him for their unexcused absences before and after the 2015 Boston Marathon. As running experts, we knew it was physiologically impossible for Rossi to have run 3:11:45 in the first place. Rossi’s 5k personal best was just 21:52 and his half marathon pb was 1:40:42. A runner at that fitness level does not run a 3:11:45 marathon. When you couple that fact with the fact he was the only finisher at the 2014 Lehigh Valley Marathon not photographed in the middle of the course, it was clear that Rossi, whose next best marathon is 3:43.52, was a marathon cheat.

We offered the large cash prize to try to get non-running experts to understand that there was zero chance that Rossi hadn’t cut the course at Lehigh Valley. We couldn’t believe that people were asking at the time, “Did Mike Rossi cheat?” when it was obvious that he definitely cheated.

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We even offered a secondary cash price of $10,000 if Rossi could even run a 3:25.00 marathon — the Boston Marathon qualifying standard for someone of Rossi’s age. If Rossi had truly run a 3:11:45 marathon, one would think he’d surely jump at the chance to make $10,000 simply by running a marathon at a pace that was more than 30 seconds per mile slower than his alleged PR (3:11:45 comes out to 7:18.81 per mile whereas 3:25.00 is 7:49.12 per mile).

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The fact that Rossi didn’t even run 3:25:00 in the last year should prove to everyone what we already knew – Mike Rossi is a marathon cheat.

Want more info? You can read one of the 25,000+ posts on Rossi on our messageboard – MB: Did Mike Rossi (viral marathon dad) cheat his way into Boston? – or you can check out the links below.


*Eliud Kipchoge’s 2:03:05 CR win in London netted him the most cash of anyone winning an Abbott World Marathon Major in the last year – $180,000 – as there were $125,000 in course record and time bonuses. Dubai, which isn’t recognized as a marathon major, offers $200,000 for first.

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