The Aftermath of Letsrun’s $100,000 Challenge to Mike Rossi

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By now, nearly everyone has heard about the letsrun challenge to Mike Rossi.

The Johnson brothers (Brojos) wrote an extremely compelling article summarizing the evidence supporting that Mike Rossi did not actually run the 2014 Lehigh Valley Marathon.

 Lehigh Valley Got It Wrong: The Evidence Is Conclusive: Mike Rossi – The Viral Boston Marathon Dad – Is A Marathon Cheat And Should Never Have Been On The Starting Line In Boston

The biggest buzz about the article stems from the offers letsrun.com made to Mike.

From the article:

Now, we know it’s possible he’ll say he is injured and doesn’t have the time/motivation to train for the marathon. So we’ll also give him $10,000 if by the end of 2015 he breaks 70:00 in a standard 10-mile course or 20:00 for 5k. 70:00 for 10 miles is equivalent to 3:16:30 for the marathon according to McMillan and 20:00 for 5k is equivalent to 3:14:53 in marathon according to McMillan.

Update on 7/17/2015: We will pay him $100,000 if he runs 3:11:45 on a legitimate records-eligible course in the next 12 months where we have advanced notice of his participation ($10,000 per year for 10 years). A media outlet interviewed us today and asked about how the 3:25 challenge came about and we said, “We tried to come up with a time that was at least theoretically possible to preemptively rule out his excuse of, ‘I can’t be expected to have the race of my life once again.’”

Mike Rossi like all of us is a human who makes mistakes. Instead of confessing his mistakes and having a real learning moment for his children, he has doubled down in denial. We’ll gladly give $1,000 to the charity of Mike Rossi’s choice if he admits he cut the course at the Lehigh Valley Marathon.

We’ll pay $500 to see the 6 or possibly 7 photos where Mr. Rossi’s lawyer says his client says he is “in the image of people running on the course.”

In the aftermath of this article, there have been quite a few articles (mostly local) reporting this story. 
Canadian Running
Runners World Newswire
Morning Call

As I was writing this, Men’s Journal posted an article
Men’s Journal

Mike did comment in an update to the Runner’s World article: From that article:

In an email to Newswire, Rossi reiterated the sentiments he made in May, writing, “The latest ‘article’… contains nothing new and features the same unfounded accusations and inaccurate analysis of the evidence that launched the original investigation. These allegations against me were fully investigated by the Via Marathon who found no evidence of any wrongdoing on my part.

“Many of the people behind these allegations are anonymous posters on a notoriously biased and sensationalist website,” Rossi continued.

Rossi said he has returned to light running after he spent 12 weeks rehabbing a torn gluteus medius tendon prior to the Boston Marathon in April.

“As I continue my rehabilitation, I hope to increase my running, and I look forward to one day running at my pre-injury level,” Rossi wrote. “I believe I will have no problem posting similar times.”

Rossi did not say whether he would accept the challenge from LetsRun.com, and Johnson said Rossi has not yet reached out to him about whether he intends to take him up on the offer.

Philadelphia’s 6abc.com Weeknight Meteorologist, Cecily Tynan made a post on Facebook regarding the story. Phillymag

It would appear that Mike read this, and made a not-so subtle dig at her job as weeknight weather anchor:

I wish I had a job where I only had to be right 50% of the time. And in case I wasn’t clear before. I didn’t cheat. Now go stare @ the sky.
— Mike Rossi (@mikerossi22) July 23, 2015
@mikerossi22 Despite the evidence, I never called you a “cheater”Why don’t you just run another 3:11 marathon, earn 100k & end speculation?
— Cecily Tynan (@CecilyTynan) July 23, 2015

 It is curious that when Ms. Tynan spoke out against him, instead of responding with evidence that he ran the marathon, he resorted to personal attacks. The same as he did with Tony Rigdon, as mentioned in the letsrun article. This is also the same tactic that anonymous posters have resorted to on the original letsrun.com thread. Mike also had a habit of changing his Facebook profile pages to the same profile pictures of his critics. He has since removed all of those posts including the tweet captured in the letsrun article.

If you go to twitter, you can read the entire exchange. Instead of answering the questions, he blasts letsrun,com instead of simply providing the photos that he claims he has, or offering additional evidence.

— Mike Rossi (@mikerossi22) July 23, 2015

Mike speaks of personal attacks against him. There is one or maybe two unique users that had made some personal comments. The letsrun community as a whole–myself included, spoke out against those posts. There are far more posts attacking Mike’s critics personally than were commenting on Mike’s family or business.  I cannot say definitively that it was Mike was attacking his critics on letsrun.com since the posts were not made by registered users.

Be warned, if you go to twitter, don’t post anything against Mike, or you will be blocked. He doesn’t take well to criticism.

@mikerossi22 So mature Mike, block me. You can’t block or ignore the truth. Time to come back to reality, the lawsuits are about to start.

— letsgoflyers (@letsgoflyers24) July 24, 2015

My first block! Makes you look like a bigger ass, dude. @mikerossi22 @letsrundotcom @Marathoncheat pic.twitter.com/2JO4IOTNjN

— KathyDanielsPearman (@kathyldaniels) July 21, 2015

Mike claims he has unpublished photos of himself on the course. His lawyer claimed he had photos in correspondence with letsrun.com and Mike re-itterated that it in this exchange:

@dgunthert @CecilyTynan that’s correct

— Mike Rossi (@mikerossi22) July 23, 2015

But, he refuses to provide this evidence. All he does is attack his critics. Think about it, if the had evidence that he qualified for Boston legitimately what would he he have to lose? If he were to prove he ran the race – the story would again go viral – and he would be a sympathetic figure, that was unjustly called a cheater by a biased website. He’d once again get the positive attention that he enjoyed from his letter to the principal. What possible reason could Mike have to withhold evidence that he ran the race?

He wasted no time issuing a cease and desist letter to the one user that made this personal. (And I don’t disagree with doing that. I even warned that poster before he received the letter that he was risking a lawsuit). But multiple people, myself included have flat out called him a ‘cheater’ and not a word from the lawyer. That may be because he couldn’t prove where calling him a cheater actually resulted in any damages, or it may be because he would have to prove he ran the marathon.

It has become very obvious from the comments from registered users tied to all these articles, and on Cecily’s Facebook page that the vast majority of the public knows Mike cheated to qualify for Boston. It is time for Mike to come clean. The constant attacks have backfired and only have made runners more motivated to have Mike disqualified and to make the public aware of the evidence.

19 COMMENTS

  1. That last tweet is mine and when I followed it by asking for him to show those photos, he blocked me, too.

  2. Mike Rossi shouldn't have to prove that he's innocent you should have to prove he guilty. Can you do that? Do you have any hard evidence that he cheated? Or is all you have hearsay and conjecture. You call on Mr. Rossi to prove that he didn't cheat, where is your proof that he did? Do you picture or videos of him cutting the course, or even any witnesses to him doing so? You ask why Mr. rossi has made public any evidence that he didn't cheat. I ask why you do make public any real evince that he did.

  3. Did you read the letsrun article? The evidence is conclusive. The odds of him being missed in every single photo is 1 in 600,000 conservatively. That's wothout factoring in the odds of beating your 10k PR in a marathon, etc. "The evidence is conclusive"

  4. That's not proof that's conjecture, and on your case hyperbole. You grossly inflated the odds quoted in the lets run article, which put the odds at 1/11000. If he is so guilty then find actually evidence: a witness, cell phone gps coordinates, a photo/video of him course cutting. Any actual evidence at all. Because maybe he is guilty, but until you have actual evidence this is nothing but a witch hunt.

  5. The initial odds were calculated for the nearest 100 runners, this was expanded to 200 I believe in the photo evidence sequence and hence the higher number. Further review of race times will drive the number higher yet.

    No way you ran 3:11 Mike, you are an idiot trying to defend this among lifetime runners and coaches and quite foolish to say you think you have pics that prove otherwise yet will not release them. You are a cheat, a liar, and a fraud. You face years of ridicule, no a lifetime of it. What a way to live.

  6. The evidence is that he would have to be superhuman to improve his times the way he did and he's have to invent an invisibility cloak (like in Harry Potter movies) to avoid missing all the photo checkpoints.

    We don't have to prove he cheated. This isn't a court of law. When we have multiple photos of the top 200 runners at 5 photo checkpoints, and Mike magically missed them all, common sense says that he wasn't on the course.

    You must believe that Santa Claus is real simply because you don't have proof he doesn't exist. Do you have photos or store receipts of your parents buying you those Xmas presents? Of course not. But eventually your parents told you the truth and common sense tells you one man can't deliver presents to every child in the world by coming down their chimney.

    Mike cheated and he just needs to be a man and put this ugliness behind him.

  7. We convict people of murder and sentence them to life in prison (or death) based on less evidence. As you know, the standard of proof in criminal cases is beyond a reasonable doubt. Not any doubt – reasonable doubt. And in civil matters, the standard of proof is lower – preponderance of the evidence. The letsrun article lays out in detail the overwhelming evidence that proves – at least by a preponderance of the evidence – that Mike Rossi cheated. It is "actual evidence." It would be admissible in any court of law in this country. What we don't have any actual evidence that Mike Rossi ran 26.2 miles that day other than the 1 photo taken of him near the finish line, which only proves that 1 photo was taken of him near the finish line. Mike Rossi has the cell phone gps coordinates, but has not made them public. He presumably has a witness (family, fellow runners) who can vouch for him, but that person has not come forward.

    I am not aware of 1 person who is not Mike Rossi publicly come forward to say that he/she believes that Mike Rossi ran the full course that day.

  8. I was really glad to see the Lets Run piece recently posted. I firmly believe he cheated… no doubt. I also think his letter to the principal really shows the true character of Mr. Rossi. The letter from the school marginalized Mr Rossi on his perceived accomplishment that he cheated to earn. Basically it made his Boston Marathon trip not matter. For someone like Mr. Rossi that had to hurt so of course he lashed out on Facebook.

    Regarding the DQ and lack of one. I would have DQ'd him no doubt, but I also now seeing his behavior on Twitter in the last week since the posting on Let's Run, I think Mr. Rossi would probably have sued the marathon. The ending of result with the new mats basically is the race saying we know he cheated too, but without actually calling Mr. Rossi a cheater. I really actually feel sorry for the guy. He probably could BQ legitimately if he trained, but he took a short cut and cheated because his ego wrote checks his body couldn't cash at the time last year.

    Mr. Rossi mentioned on Twitter he is registered for the NYCM, I highly doubt he will start it though claiming injury. Be interesting if he actually finished it though. I would expect another 3:40ish time.

    P in Alabama

  9. Forget detailed calculations of odds here — that's akin to doing the math to determine just how much rain would have to fall in 40 days to cover the globe in water. (It's about six inches a minute.) Reasonable people understand that the Noah's Ark story is a fable, and reasonable people similarly know that Mike Rossi cheated his way to a 3:11:45 marathon. I would happily bet my life savings on it. Hell, my life itself. And as it happens, this fallout evidently couldn't be landing on the head of a more toxic asshole.

    If I were the RD of a marathon Mike Rossi entered, I would immediately requisition a team of friends to run alongside him the entire way, not to keep him from cheating (we already know he cheats) but to see how badly he struggles to run even 8:00 pace, and quietly hector him in the bargain.

  10. Kembe, you're an idiot. The Bible says "the fountains of the deep broke open" . That's underground water not clouds. your stupidity on this matter and lack of research, is tarnishing a blog post on a slam dunk case of a cheater. Do your homework next time. Let me guess, next you'll ask where all the water went? duh.

  11. I'm always suspect of grown adults who use Twitter to advertise their personal lives. #NarcissisticPersonalityDisorder

  12. Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) – is a personality disorder in which a person is excessively preoccupied with personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity, mentally unable to see the destructive damage they are causing to themselves and others.

  13. Where did the water go? And how did kangaroos get to Australia? And where did all the poo go? What level was the brachiosaur on? Did any of the family have problems with the incest that was occurring to repopulate the planet?

  14. The irony in this is if the Lehigh marathon had DQ'd him, the running world would have moved on. By not doing so, the resultant sense of outrage in the running community is keeping this story alive and is ruining Mike's reputation even more. They should put this tale in the dictionary as an example of karma, and Rossi in the dictionary, with the definition 'verb. To cut short, or cheat at something'

  15. Just catching up on your blog – thanks for using my tweet! I'm actually a little disappointed I said that to him though because it would have been nice to stay in his good graces and watch him tweet away vs. being blocked. Oh well.

    Keep up the good work.

    KDP

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