FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Runner and Harvard graduate Jane Seo enjoys the “runner’s high,” according to her blog, and on Sunday, she claims, she got caught up in that high and cheated during Fort Lauderdale’s half-marathon.
She was awarded second place in the marathon, but an investigator, Derek Murphy, quickly noticed a problem.
“She stood up on the podium, got her prize, got the plaque and certificate,” Murphy said, “I did notice right away she looked fresh crossing the finish online.”
Murphy, who runs the website MarathonInvestigation.com, looked into Seo’s splits — her times during the first half of the marathon versus the second half.
“It was obvious that she cut corners just based on the time,” Murphy said.
Event organizers said Seo cut the course near Galt Ocean Drive, shaving about a mile and a half off the course.
7News tried to reach out to Seo, but she has not responded.
“The timer initially noticed that she missed a split,” Murphy said, “an unpublished split at the turnaround point, which racers will do a lot. They call it a cheater’s mat.”
A1A Marathon organizer Matt Lorraine said other runners believed she might have cheated.
“We had documented hearsay from other runners that said that she had cut the course,” Lorraine said.
Still, Seo claimed to have run the whole race, and even posted her GPS-recorded course map. But, Murphy claims, she rode her bike later in the day along the full course.
“If you’re caught in the moment, you don’t take those extra steps, you don’t ride 13 miles in the afternoon to try to, you cover it up,” Murphy said.
A picture of Seo after the race, showing her watch, was the best evidence for Murphy.
“You can zoom in and see that she ran 11-plus miles, not the 13,” Murphy said.
“It’s embarrassing,” Lorraine said. “It’s shameful.”
Seo finally admitted to cheating on her Instagram account.
“I got swept away in the moment and pretended I ran the entire course, when in fact I CHEATED and should have disqualified myself.”
She even admitted to cycling the course to cover her tracks.
“Even worse, not only did I steal the award from the true, well-deserved runners/finishers, but also proceeded to BIKE the course afterward with my GPS watch to cover my wrongdoings. What an idiot I was!”
Seo also apologized.
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