Independent marathon-running investigators are not to be trifled with.
Earlier this week, business analyst Derek Murphy caught Jane Seo, a 24-year-old Huffington Post writer, red-handed after she placed second in the Fort Lauderdale A1A Half Marathon.
Murphy went all-in. He studied distance trackers, maps, heart-rate monitors and even Seo’s race photos. From Sam Machkovech of Ars Technica:
“Murphy began poking around official photos from the event and found one of Seo smiling with a second-place award around her neck—and a clearly visible Garmin 235 screen on her wrist. He paid for a higher-resolution version of the photos, and they showed a running-distance tally on the wrist hardware’s screen: 11.65 miles. Even factoring in a margin of error, that measure is well short of a half marathon’s 13.1 mile total.”
Murphy also pointed out that Seo got faster as the race wore on, which is highly unusual in long-distance running. She averaged a 7:09 mile for her first 10 kilometers and a 5:25 for her remaining about 11 kilometers.
Seo tried to cover her tracks by biking over the course later on and posting her “run” to Strava, a social network for bicyclists and runners.
“Had she just admitted what she did, I never would have heard of her, nor written about her,” Murphy told Nick Sortal of the Miami New Times. “But going back and biking the course to cover up … that’s unheard of.”
Seo posted an apology admitting to the cheating on Instagram but later deleted it. Murphy screen-grabbed it and posted it on his site, MarathonInvestigation.com.