NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - A New York area competitive runner and food blogger was caught cheating in a half-marathon in Florida on Sunday.
Jane Seo claimed second-place in the Fort Lauderdale A1A Half Marathon and reportedly stood on the podium despite some skepticism about her finishing time of 1:21:46. But she defended her time to race officials and asked other runners to vouch for her, according to Miami New Times. Later Sunday, the race officials disqualified her for cutting the course.
Seo apparently insisted she had run the full course and even posted GPS data to her profile on Strava, an online social network for athletes, showing that she covered 13.1 miles.
But blogger Derek Murphy of marathoninvestigation.com debunked her story. He dived deeper into the data, purchased race photos of Seo, and found that she couldn't have run what she claimed to run. The race's data show that Seo ran the first 10 kilometers at an average pace of 7:09/mile and then a very unlikely 5:25/mile pace for the remaining 11.08 kilometers of the 13.1-mile race.
He enlarged one photo in which Seo's GPS running watch clearly shows that it tracked only 11.65 miles.
Murphy also examined the data on Strava and found that her cadence was more like a cyclist's than a runner's and that she had actually done the mileage Sunday afternoon and not during the race.
Seo finally came clean on social media. Although her Instagram profile is now private, a screenshot posted on marathoninvestigation.com appears to show that she wrote: "I made a HORRIBLE choice at the Ft. Lauderdale Half Marathon... I wasn't feeling well so I CUT THE COURSE and headed to the finish line. I got swept away in the moment and pretended I ran the entire course, when in fact I CHEATED and should have disqualified myself."
"While I am glad that she eventually admitted to cutting the course and trying to cover her tracks, she only posted this after information was relayed to her regarding the extent of the evidence against her," Murphy wrote in his blog post. The blog states that its mission is "to work with runners and race officials to analyze race results and detect course cutters, bib swappers and other questionable results."
The Dashing Whippets, a competitive running club in New York City, has kicked Seo off the team. Without naming her, the board issued a statement Tuesday: "As some of you may be aware, one of our members intentionally cut the course at a Half Marathon this past weekend. The member in question has admitted to cheating, has been officially disqualified from the race, and has apologized to the DWRT Board."
Seo is a Harvard graduate, a Verizon employee, and a former blogger for HuffingtonPost.com, according to her LinkedIn profile. She has not yet responded to Fox5NY.com's request for comment. I asked for her perspective on what happened and how she is being treated. If she replies, I will update this story.