The Viral Marathon Dad
I doubt very many people knew who Mike Rossi was even three months ago. This Pennsylvania dad went viral, both on social media and on the national news for his vigilante version of education. In a nutshell, Mike took his kids out of school to watch him run the Boston Marathon. The school's principal, in-line with procedure, sent them a letter stating that those absences would be unexcused and that an accumulation of absences would result in possible referral to an attendance officer. From my viewpoint, I didn't feel like there were any threats made by the principal, just notification of standard procedure. Seemingly being passive-aggressive by nature, Mr. Rossi sent back a letter to the principal basically telling them how the trip was more educational than any day they would have in school. An article regarding the situation can be found here in case you want to be caught up to speed and would like to read about it in more detail.
Not long after (by all appearances, only 2-3 weeks), someone with WAY too much time looked up Mike Rossi and found some irregularities with HOW he qualified for Boston. Again, just to keep this to a summary in length, some posters on the popular running site LetsRun.com found prior results, as well as social media posts, that seemed to indicate he should not have been able to run a qualifying time at the Lehigh Valley Marathon. In his case, the qualifying time was 3:25 and his "official" time was 3:11. His reasoning was that Lehigh was "the race of a lifetime" where everything this clicked.
Another factor that played a part in all of this is that Lehigh Valley only had timing mats at the beginning and end of the race, and nothing in the middle. Essentially, the risk is that someone starts the race, hops in a getaway car and pulls up just short of the finish to record an "official" Boston qualifier. Other people with an abundance of free time clicked through numerous race photos from Lehigh, unable to find Mike Rossi in any pictures. LetsRun.com did a very thorough analysis with help from readers and put together the following article here.
They were so confident in Mike Rossi cheating to qualify for the Boston Marathon that they offered various cash awards for differing things, none of which Mr. Rossi has accepted so far.
The entire situation is suspicious, and it never would have come into question had the original letter from the principal been handled in a more adult manner. Only Mike Rossi (and possibly the getaway driver) knows what happened in Lehigh, but there seems to be quite a bit of evidence for the court of public opinion to rule on.
What do you think? Did he legitimately run the time or did he cheat?
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