Late last Friday afternoon the Lehigh Valley Marathon Committee announced that Mike Rossi will not be disqualified despite compelling evidence that he did not run the full race. The race officials ignored evidence that Mike did not run the course, and did not disqualify him basically because no one saw him not run the marathon. Their full statement is below:
If he cheated as most expect, there are only two points where he’d be at risk. The start line, and upon re-entering the course. In the crowd at the start, it would be very easy to cross the line and leave the course – no one would notice. And, it’s entirely possible that he ran the last relay leg – it would have been easy to slip right in.
- Mike is the only runner out of 1,065 full marathon participants with no identified on course photos before the finish. The photographers took an extraordinary number of photos. There is at least one spot on the course where there is no gap in photos during the period of time he would have been expected to pass by. Mike could not have been missed had he passed this area. Every other runner is seen here, except Mike.
- His previous race times do not indicate the ability to run the time he recorded at Lehigh Valley.
- On a very warm day, he does not appear fatigued.
- He was untypically quiet about his P.R. time on social media. He would routinely post about training runs..but posted almost nothing about what was a huge PR and accomplishment.
- Despite wearing a GPS in the past. Mike claims to not have had a GPS for this run.
- The 1000 miles in 18 months he says he ran in training is well below what the typical athlete training for a marathon completes.
Here’s the thing though, Mike has no case- and I seriously doubt he’d follow through on any lawsuit. The terms of the race gives them wide latitude to disqualify runners
I agree to abide by any and all rulings of event officials, even if such ruling results in my disqualification..
I understand not wanting to deal with a lawsuit, but the waiver that Mike signed, allows for a disqualification for any reason.
Speaking of Lawyers..
Many on the boards believe that he will file a slander suit. I do not believe this for one moment. Mike would need to prove by a preponderance of evidence that he did run this marathon. There simply has been no evidence that he actually ran. Therefore, he cannot prove even with just a 51% certainty that statements saying he cheated are not factual. In my opinion, Mike wants the world to believe he was vindicated by not being disqualified. He will not risk going into court, and having a ruling against him and have it proven in a very public manner that he did not run this marathon. In my opinion, I feel that he will be happy with the non-DQ and continue to use that as ‘evidence’ that he did not cheat.
Kara Knoblock Moore – Very Similar Case
To me, this case is even more egregious. Ms. Moore celebrated her result throughout social media. Despite the irrefutable evidence presented, it does not appear that she will be disqualified. Whether it is apathy on behalf of the marathon, or fear of lawsuit, this apparent decision to uphold her result is more disturbing to me than the Mike Rossi case.
The evidence is undeniable and easier to understand than the lack of photos with Rossi. For her result to be legitimate, she would have had to run the middle 13.8 miles at a pace under 6 minutes per mile. Her only half marathon was over 2 hours. And she would have had to manage to strip off her sweatshirt which was under her singlet and bib sometime during the process as well.
Mike, and Kara or those representing them – If you see this post, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any explanations you have. I will be happy to post any statement you may want to make or any additional information you may have.
It will probably never happen, but I would love to see a central organization responsible for all marathon disqualifications. Take the power or responsibility away from the individual marathons. Some marathons have been very proactive and will promptly disqualify runners. Other race directors do not care even in the most obvious cases.
I created this blog after a thread I made regarding Kara was pulled from the forums on letsrun.com. That thread was starting to gain traction as the Mike Rossi case was winding down.I wanted a place where we could compile data in one place and lead race officials to posts when asking them to review results. The intent is not to shame every runner with a questionable result. I try to lay out the facts, and will throw in my opinion for what it’s worth. If I ever misstate something, or get something wrong, I will quickly correct it. By semi-publically publishing these cases, my hope is that it leads to more questionable results being reported, and may serve as a deterrent for others to cheat. Also by making some disqualifications public, it may lead to other R.D’s being more confident in decisions to disqualify runners where warranted.
There have been a # of instances already where people reported results and I just forwarded the details, and they DQ’d the runners – without writing an article.