A half-marathon competitor was caught cheating after post-race pictures of her Garmin fitness tracker showed that she didn't run the full course.
A half-marathon competitor was caught cheating after post-race pictures of her Garmin fitness tracker showed that she didn't run the full course.

In a cautionary tale that demonstrates how IoT devices can be used to track your behavior and movements, a marathon racer was caught cheating after an investigative blogger detected suspicious data corresponding to both her Strava fitness app and her Garmin 235 fitness band.

News outlets have identified the cheater as New York runner Jane Seo, who appeared to finish second in the Ft. Lauderdale A1A Half Marathon earlier this month, before she was later disqualified. Derek Murphy, a blogger who runs the website MarathonInvestigation.com, posted a report explaining how he exposed Seo's chicanery by analyzing the race route data that she posted online using Strava.

Suspicions arose that Seo may have cut the course because her pace over her last few miles was much faster than what it was during the first segment of the half-marathon, and because after the contest she posted her race data manually without including any GPS data. Later that day, Sao posted again using Strava, this time showing her GPS-tracked route. But upon closer inspection of the on-screen data, Murphy determined that Sao literally tried to cover her tracks by retracing the full half-marathon route in the afternoon following the race. Moreover, she did this on two wheels, not on foot, as Sao's cardio data was "more indicative of a bike ride than a race," Murphy's blog post explained.

As a final nail in the coffin, Murphy noticed that Sao's Garmin fitness tracker was visible in her post-race photos. A close-up view of the IoT device's display showed that she had run only 11.65 Total Miles, about 1.5 miles short of the course's actual length.

Sao later posted a confession and apology via Instagram.