The Fascinating Oral History of the Boston Marathon Dad Incident and Its Ripple Effect

We suggest you listen to this on your running commute home tonight.

Remember Boston Marathon Dad Mike Rossi? If you are a runner, you are most definitely nodding your head, but if not, here’s a little background. He’s a dad from Montgomery County who took his kids to watch him run in the Boston Marathon in 2015. His principle scolded him for taking his kids out of school. He wrote the principle a feisty letter back. The whole saga went viral. People loved Boston Marathon Dad Mike Rossi for a few days — and then they started questioning his qualifying time for the Boston Marathon.

Runners did some seriously deep digging and came to the conclusion, chatting on online message boards, that Rossi had cheated at the Lehigh Valley Health Network Via Marathon (the marathon ran an investigation and decided that there wasn’t conclusive evidence to say Rossi had cheated), where he’d qualified to run the Boston Marathon. Cue the public shaming.

The internet is a harsh place. (Anonymity has that effect, doesn’t it?)

But it’s not just Rossi who got shamed all over the internet as a result of the cheating allegations. Runner’s World’s Human Race podcast’s most recent episode, titled “Villains and Vigilantes,” offers a fascinating oral history on the Boston Marathon Dad incident and the ripple effect its had on runners — and runners who’ve been caught cheating — all over, interviewing a vigilante race investigator who now works with races to keep cheaters out and one runner who was banned from the Boston Marathon for life for a tricky, morally confusing cheating incident.

I suggest you listen to it on your running commute (thanks, SEPTA strike) home tonight. It is fascinating. And will also help to catch you up on the whole scandal if you often find yourself saying “TL;DR.” You can find the episode here.

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