It has been more than a month since the organizers of the 2014 Lehigh Valley Health Network Via Marathon issued a carefully worded statement indicating that there was no “conclusive evidence” that Montgomery County’s Mike Rossi cheated in that race, a race that qualified him for the Boston Marathon. And Rossi has steadfastly maintained that he did nothing wrong. But some skeptics still aren’t convinced.
Fifteen-year-old running website LetsRun.com, which has been at the forefront of the controversy since it erupted in early May, is so sure that Rossi couldn’t have run the Lehigh Valley race in his official recorded time — 3:11:45 — that it has issued a challenge to him: LetsRun will pay Rossi $100,000 if he can run another marathon in the same time. There are stipulations, of course. Rossi must provide LetsRun with advance notice that he’s running, and he has to run on a record-eligible course.
If Rossi can’t match that time but breaks 3:25 (LetsRun says they picked that time “to preemptively rule out his excuse of ‘I can’t be expected to have the race of my life once again’”), he’ll get $10,000. He’ll get the same amount if he breaks 70:00 on a 10-mile course or 20:00 in a 5k, says LetsRun.
The site is also offering Rossi $500 to view the Google location history of his phone on the day of the race and $500 if Rossi can produce any photos of him running the Lehigh course.
The whole challenge is laid out in LetsRun’s new and lengthily titled investigative piece, “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 story includes analysis of Rossi’s racing history and times, examination of race photographs, and the theory that Rossi could have started the race, hopped in a car, and driven to near the finish line, since the starting and finish lines are “conveniently located right next to I-78.”
Rossi’s Lehigh Valley performance probably wouldn’t have gotten any attention if not for a scolding letter he received from his kids’ principal after he took them out of school for three days so they could watch him run the Boston Marathon. That letter went viral, and people started to ask questions about his time in the qualifying race.
We asked Rossi if he would be taking LetsRun up on any of its challenges. So far, he hasn’t responded.
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