The running community has become littered with frauds and cheaters. While there are plenty more than the four I’ve listed here, these are some great examples. I don’t understand what possesses people to do things like this.
The Mike Rossi thread on Letsrun has more than 26,000 posts.
Mike Rossi went viral for writing this letter to his son’s principal when she didn’t grant his son an excused absence from school to watch him run the Boston Marathon.
Funny thing is, Mike cheated to qualify for Boston. He claims to have run 3:11:45 at the Lehigh Valley Marathon in 2014.
After piling up evidence that he cheated, Letsrun’s founders offered him $100,000 to duplicate the time within a year. A year has passed, Rossi never attempted to claim his prize but to this day denies any wrongdoing.
Boston has a finite number of entries, meaning Rossi stole a spot from someone who ran slower, but actually ran. A travesty. This happens more often than you think.
Alex Viada is a trainer for “hybrid” athletes.
Viada’s claim to fame is being able to squat 700 pounds while also running a 4:15 mile, which is still quoted on a number of articles. He regularly posted GPS results of his workouts on his Facebook, including many 400m repeats in 60 seconds.
At well over 200 pounds, the Letsrun crowd wasn’t buying it. After long threads on the topic, Letsrun admins began mysteriously deleting anything that mentioned Viada. Conversely, Viada removed all mentions of running times on his personal website and Facebook profile. So it appears some mutual agreement was reached.
I give him credit that he stopped making the claims, but he had to be caught for that to happen, and never actually owned up to his lies.
The multiple false claims of running ability surely built his reputation with prospective clients though.
Robert Young recently attempted to “run across the USA“. Similar to Rossi, the Letsrun crowd exposed the cheater with a 10,000+ post thread on the topic.
Robert was knocking out 60-70 mile days left and right and publicizing the attempt as much as possible.
Letsrun recaps how he was caught here, but once all eyes were on him, he got “injured” and had to end his attempt.
He vehemently denied any cheating and said he was going to release the GPS data, including cadence and heart rate, to prove his innocence, but never did. When investigators went to get the data from his GPS watches, he had wiped them clean. Even his own sponsor said he cheated.
The run was to benefit charity, but there’s no telling how much was going to Young’s pocket. He’s since deleted his personal website.
This all brings us to our newest fraud – Kevin “KP” Kelly
The other stories have played out, but KP’s is at its infancy, which is why this is interesting.
On Friday, the Letsrun crowd questioned KP’s claim to have run 100 marathons in 100 days (but on the 100th day, he decided to run 100 miles just because). He also says he’s run a 3:00 marathon and a 4:20 mile.
KP is 6’7, 250 lbs, and like the other runners on our list, he has little natural talent but a lot of drive!
He runs for charity, but says that the money donated should go directly to his gofundme, which he’ll then donate to charity himself.
Unlike Robert Young, he didn’t wear a GPS watch for his feat, and has no real proof of anything, though he claims many of the marathons are being done in he low-mid 4 hour range. He hasn’t lost much weight in the 100 days that’s for sure.
To raise more eyebrows, his marathon PR comes from a race where he missed every timing mat. That, coupled with the fact that a 4:20 mile PR would likely be the world record for someone weighing 250 lbs, provides more than enough evidence to justify calling this guy a fraud.
He hasn’t come under fire yet, but he’s indulging in the publicity while it’s still focused on his amazing feat instead of the amazing fraud.
It may seem premature to call KP a fraud. Like the die-hard fans of Rossi, Viada, Young, and other frauds, people will say that guys like me are cynical and trying to tear down a good thing.
My response is they’re naive and uneducated on the subject matter – a 6’7, 250 pound guy who has no proof of running ONE marathon faster than 4 hours cannot run 100 marathons in a row in the manner which he’s suggesting.
I’m excited to see how this one plays out! Follow the Letsrun thread if you’re interested!