Internet Sleuth Busts Cheater in Half-Marathon

Jane Seo cut the course, then biked it to get GPS data
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2017 6:30 AM CST
Internet Sleuth Busts Cheater in Half-Marathon
Runners participate in a race in New Haven, Conn., on Feb. 5, 2017.   (Arnold Gold/New Haven Register via AP)

Jane Seo's second-place finish at the Fort Lauderdale half-marathon Sunday was impressive, not least because race times showed she'd kept a pace of about seven minutes per mile for the first half of the race, but managed 5:25 per mile in the second. As an internet sleuth has revealed, it was all too unbelievable to be true. Though Seo, a 24-year-old food blogger and writer for the Huffington Post, defended her time at the finish line when questioned by a timer and went on to claim a medal, her race didn't sit well with Derek Murphy of, who noticed GPS data Seo later shared showing her completing the 13.1-mile route was recorded in the afternoon—well after the morning half-marathon was completed, per the Miami New Times.

Murphy also believed the data, showing an even pace of about six minutes per mile at 122 steps per minute, came from a bike ride. But his biggest piece of evidence came when he zoomed in on a photo of Seo at the finish line; the running watch on her wrist showed she'd only run 11.65 miles. "After information was relayed to her," Murphy says Seo posted an apology to Instagram, since deleted, claiming she "cut the course" because she felt ill. Once at the finish line, "I got swept away in the moment and pretended I ran the entire course" then later "proceeded to BIKE the course afterward with my GPS watch to cover my wrongdoings," Seo said. She was later disqualified, per NBC Miami. Murphy, who tells NBC News he's caught 250 cheaters, says Seo's level of deceit was "unheard of." (A man ran a marathon while juggling.)

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