First off, I make like 72 cents a month off my blog so you kind of get what you pay for. Yes, the internet jumps to conclusions, but so did Frank Reynolds on ABC when Reagan got shot and didn't have all the facts compiled and he didn't have social networking. Yes, I'm that old, and no, I'm not Frank Reynolds.
"Let's get it straight!"
What I do know is I've been dragged into this mess as I've become associated as the blogger that "broke the story." Um, no. I did not break the story. The bulletin boards were lit up like Clark Griswold's Christmas tree as it became a story about the validity of the original BQ. Supposed facts started piling in including photos and previous Athlinks race results.
I pulled the original post for four reasons; 1) This turned into an angry mob, and I wanted no part of it. 2) I have kids and so does the runner. I put myself in his shoes and regardless of his marathon times, his kids look up to him as mine do, (my son was also in Boston to see me run my fifth Boston seven months removed from the hospital), 3) A run publication dropped me from their community and quite frankly that hurt, and 4) I hear a whiff of a lawyer and unless he's settling my oil well proceedings I want no part of it. Other than that, it became a giant nuisance to my personal life so I again became sympathetic to their situations. The first two thirds of my post was recapping the story in already published facts. Once through what everybody already knew, I offered;
"I'll interject here that if...(he) ran a 3:11, I'll send him a commemorative pair of Brooks 2015 Boston Marathon "laaabstah" shoes (size 11.5) along with a SeekingBostonMarathon.com sticker."
I also offered a YouTube apology if this is all a big misunderstanding. Those offers still stand. I'll offer the written version early as this spun far out of control. I wrote about the woman who kissed the man in Wellesley and tried to track him down to find out he was married. His wife was a good sport at least in the press, but rumors are he's sleeping at his bowling buddy's house (note the sarcasm.) I also wrote about the gentleman who was the last finisher of the Boston Marathon who suffers from a muscular condition, Maickel Melamed. No one picked up either story with the fervor as this one.
Maickel deserves a lot more ink than this one that should simply fade away. There are questions that remain unasked, but I'm not the one to ask them since Lehigh will and others far more qualified than I will ask them. Perhaps I crossed a line with my Cheech and Chong reference, but you should have known better after my "Fifty Shades of Marathon Grey" or "Why Triathlons Are Like Frat Houses" posts to consider the tone and accuracy of this 72 cent a month blogger. Sorry to any I've hurt or offended, but I will continue to write about the Boston Marathon all year long. It's my passion and I could not resist writing about this story the first time, and hoping it will be the last.
Move over Rosie Ruiz, you may have some competition from Mike Rossi. At least that's if you believe the runner bulletin board material.
There are some fantastic stories that came out of the 2015 Boston Marathon including Maickel Melamed from Venezuela who was the last one to complete the race in 20 hours suffering from a rare muscular condition. Then there's Mike Rossi.
Mike got his 15 minutes of fame by writing a letter to his children's high school principal in response to the letter he received from their Principal (left) regarding their "unexcused absences" due to attending dad's race at the 2015 Boston Marathon.
He wrote back that their experiences were invaluable with passages including;
"they learned about dedication, commitment, love...overcoming adversity"
"they watched their father overcome injury, bad weather...and many other obstacles...to achieve a personal goal."
Heartbreaking, passionate, I nearly formed a lump in my throat, and started to "tear up" (#Sarcasm). I also took my high school senior out of school for a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see me race in Boston. His absences were unexcused (since Dad neglected to call until we were in Boston.) I felt the same way as Mike about pulling my son out of school. My story didn't go viral, nor did I go on television to defend my honor. Mine was a non-story as Mike's should have been. I too overcame injury, and felt fortunate to be at my fifth Boston Marathon.
People came out of the woodwork to defend this guy's position and how could the principal dare question the kids trip.
|These are Mike's if he's a 3:11|
The first curve in the story is that it sounds like the letter was merely a template sent out in these situations, not the cold, callous, and heartless letter that social media first made it out to be. Principal Rochelle Marbury's name and motivations were called into question and became vilified in the social media world prompting his son to post to Facebook with a "stop the madness" plea. Rochelle received hundreds of scathing emails, prank phone calls which brought tears to the woman who dedicated her life to education. Viral story part II.
Just when we thought this was a big misunderstanding blown way out of proportion, people started to look at bit closer at how Mike got to Boston in the first place. It seems that Mike has only been running for 27 months, and is a 47 year-old that ran a sizzling 3:11 at the Lehigh Valley Health Marathon in 2014. Impressive. Or was it? Conspiracy theorists start by pointing out that the race photo site only shows one photo of Mike...crossing the finish line. There were no timing mats throughout the course; just start and finish. This is starting to sound like Paul Ryan (POST HERE); the politician who claimed a sub three hour marathon.
I'll interject here that if Mike legitimately ran a 3:11, I'll send him a commemorative pair of Brooks 2015 Boston Marathon "laaabstah" shoes (size 11.5) along with a SeekingBostonMarathon.com sticker.
Why do runners "smell blood in the water" and want answers? It also seems that none of Mike's previous races (5K and up) have any indication that he was capable of running a 3:11. He ran a 4:01 in Boston (due to injury,) and a 3:43 in the Philly Marathon which is more in line with his Athlinks previous race results. A 3:11 marathon is a 7:19 pace. Less than two months earlier, he ran a similar pace (7:13)...in a 5k. If he can maintain the same pace in a marathon that he has in a 5k, I'll eat my run hat, and issue a public apology on my YouTube.
Speaking of YouTube, he posted his 2015 Boston Marathon race recap on YouTube (I can't knock that as a blogger who's done it before) but it fundamentally comes across as some sappy shoe commercial about running or some guy that crawled out of a hospital bed (oh wait, that's my story,) to race Boston...or that he actually won the darn thing.
He shut his blog down to invite only (what blogger would do such a thing?,) still has his twitter account, and the bulletin boards (like LetsRun.com and Runner's World) are lighting up over this. Just like the wrath poor principal Marbury received, Mike is now on the receiving end. Demands for answers; photos on the Lehigh course, his Garmin file from Lehigh, or even a long run prior to Lehigh that resembled anything close to this amazing leap in performance have gone unanswered as far as I know. I can get over the t-shirts idolizing Dad and Mike for running Boston...I see lot's of families that do that for a runner, but the YouTube video makes him look like a narcissist jerk. There was no story in the video (other than he ran Boston) but I'm afraid he's got a real story now.
I will quote the wise prophets Cheech and Chong, if it "looks like dogshit, smells like dogshit...must be dogshit." Or...I owe Mike a pair of Brooks.