Mike Rossi and Marathon Investigation


A number of times over the past year, I had started (and stopped) writing an article about the reaction to Rossi, and how there are still some people still are pushing for a Rossi disqualification from The 2014 VIA Lehigh Valley Marathon.

Mike is accountable for his own actions, nothing I say below should be interpreted otherwise. But for those that think Mike came out ahead by avoiding a disqualification, I think they should look at the big picture and be sympathetic to his family, at least.

Mike Rossi is in the news again. Following a domestic disturbance, Rossi reportedly attacked two police officers who responded to the incident.

The Butterfly Effect

Had Rossi not made the news for his viral letter that he posted on social media, his cheating never would have been public, and Marathon Investigation would not exist.

Now seems like an appropriate time to address the topic of Mike Rossi.

It was behind the backdrop of the Mike Rossi cheating scandal that Marathon Investigation was created. As the letsrun thread on Rossi continued on for weeks, and months after most were convinced that Rossi cheated, I asked the question,

Why is Rossi getting so much attention, is he the only cheater?

That question led me to check some other race results, where I quickly found another runner who obviously cut a course in order to qualify for Boston. Eventually, I posted this in The Mike Rossi thread on letsrun.

I have been consistent. Very early on, I felt that from a cheating perspective, the Mike Rossi story had run its course. Mike was one of many. Dozens of runners were found to have cheated in their qualifiers in order to run The 2015 Boston Marathon.

The seed is planted

Following that post and after letsrun deleted a thread on this cheater that I uncovered, I created a blog, the precursor to MarathonInvestigation.com

The start of Marathon Investigation

Things Get (More) Personal

The letsrun thread about Rossi’s apparent cheating became dominated by those with personal and business issues with Mike, and as time went on it became less about running. I made the above posts starting on page 163 of the thread. The thread continued for over two years and 1200 pages before being locked down in July of 2017. Very little of what followed was really about running.

Still Receiving Criticism

Marathon Investigation literally started because I felt that the attention Mike was getting in the running community was disproportional to the severity of his cheating.

Still, to this day, there are people that feel Mike ‘got away with it’.

The reality is that as soon as Mike ran The 2015 Boston Marathon and received his medal, he technically ‘got away with it’. That doesn’t mean that he wins.

A disqualification in 2015 would have meant little. A disqualification today would mean even less. In reality, a quick disqualification may have brought closure to those that were out for blood, and the thread that became more about industry squabbles, and his family likely would have fizzled out.

As of a couple weeks ago, there was one twitter user (since banned under a couple of accounts) that posted about Mike daily. Others think that I’ve given Mike a pass, or preferential treatment.

Special Treatment?

There is irony in the claim that I am giving Mike special treatment by not pushing for a disqualification from his 2014 VIA Marathon.

There were over 60 runners that I had identified as having cheated in one way or another to run The 2015 Boston Marathon. These people that are pushing hard for me to continue to push for a Rossi disqualification have nothing to say about the others. They claim it’s only about the running, but clearly it’s about more than that for some.


After my initial analysis of Boston, I decided that it was most important to look forward and focus on catching runners who are actively cheating and keeping runners out of Boston in the first place.

My stance on Mike Rossi is the same as the others. Unless the cheating continues, there are better places to focus my energy.

Mike didn’t win. While he may have officially qualified for and ran Boston, I would have to think that he would give that up if he could go back in time.

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  1. Well written article and I agree. It’s about moving forward and uncovering current cheats from qualifying from upcoming Boston Marathons.

    It sounds as if you’re receiving pressure to continue investigating Rossi. It’s an interesting case with emotions involved and some want to make things right. With the attention that Rossi has had and evidence provided, I don’t know what else could be done to convince the VIA Lehigh Race Director.

    With limited time at your disposal, it’s important to prioritize the here-and-now over the past, especially as cheating is apparently becoming increasingly prevalent.

  2. so much has changed since 2014/2015. @Derek, out of curiosity, if you came across another instance with the same amount of “evidence” as Mike’s, would that even be worth an article? There were no timing mats, no splits, and really the evidence was a dearth of on course photos and a huge outlier in times compared to his previous races.

    • That’s an interesting question. If it were just me investigating, I probably would have marked it as highly suspicious and flagged him to look for any additional cheating. I never would have personally gone through everyone’s photos to determine that he was the only one missing from race photography.

  3. Hi Derek.

    Your link to the “Mike Rossi is in the news again” article is missing the “htt” from the URL.
    The link starts with “ps://patch.com…” instead of “https://patch.com…”

    Keep up the great work!

  4. Please, don’t kick a guy already on the floor. This was 5 years ago. Let him rebuild his life. Have some mercy on the guy, this is just plain cruel.

  5. The answer to the “Why Rossi?” is simple – it was his actions once the cheating emerged (plus the “Madam Principal” letter and self-publicity which probably is the single key event).
    Can you name the guy who cheated several times at the Marines Marathon who owned up? I can guess at his first name but that is about it. I can say with certainty that if this guy had acted identically to Rossi, he would have had exactly the same treatment.
    Someone under the handle MusicManPA posted a very thoughtful contribution on the long thread – worth reading.

  6. At this point bringing up Mike Rossi outside the context of running/racing is just bouncing the rubble and unbecoming of a decent person.

    • People can make mistakes, but forgiveness should only be granted to those who truthfully own their mistakes and learn from them. The first step is an admission.

  7. It is interesting you posted this. I have been a recent listener of the podcast and especially the older ones mention Mike Rossi but I had no idea who he was. So I finally googled his name and found the stories. The next day I found this post.

    For the new listeners, I might be a good idea to have a podcast about famous cheaters and why they are famous. Don’t spend too much time on each one but just a recap. Each host can pick their top 5 and discuss… 🙂

    Now I need to google “bandits” since I still have no clue what this really means 🙂

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