Thursday, February 23, 2017
February 22, 2017 | 4:35pm | Updated
A Huffington Post lifestyle writer and food blogger saw her blazing-fast marathon time go up in smoke after an investigation revealed she cut part of the 13.1-mile course.
Jane Seo — a 24-year-old Harvard-educated writer who covers food in New York and contributes to the Huffington Post — aroused suspicions after the Fort Lauderdale Half Marathon on Sunday when an official noticed that her timing chip showed unusually fast miles throughout the second half of the race, the Miami New Times reports.
The official then confronted Seo, but she was able to persuade race director Matt Loraine to keep her listed as the second-place finisher with a time just under 1 hour and 22 minutes, a speedy pace of 6 minutes and 15 seconds per mile.
The mysterious results eventually caught the eye of Derek Murphy, a business analyst who has become the “world’s best internet sleuth” at busting cheating roadrunners. Murphy uncovered a photo of Seo at the race’s finish line that depicted her Garmin watch, which she used to keep her own time. After enlarging the photo, Murphy found that Seo’s watch matched her posted time but showed that she only covered a distance of 11.65 miles, or 1.45 miles short of the full half marathon.
That led Murphy to investigate Seo’s mile splits and he found that she ran the first 10 kilometers at a pace of 7 minutes and 9 seconds per mile, while increasing her speed to a blistering pace of 5 minutes and 25 seconds in the remaining 11 kilometers.
“Very few, if any, runners could shave a minute and a half off their splits in the second half of a race,” the Miami New Times reports. “But there was more evidence.”
Seo later posted on— a social network for athletes — her mile-by-mile stats from the 13.1-mile course, which traced along Fort Lauderdale Beach for most of the stretch. But Murphy noticed that the records were more in line with a person riding a bicycle than someone running solely on their feet.
Seo, who did not return a message seeking comment from The Post, later admitted that she went back and biked the entire course to cover her tracks by GPS, the Miami New Times reports.
Murphy detailed his probe into Seo on his website, , where he posted an apology that Seo posted on Instagram late Monday.
“I made a HORRIBLE choice at the Ft. Lauderdale Half Marathon on Sunday, Feb. 20,” Seo wrote, according to Murphy’s website. “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.”
Seo has also lost her spot on the Dashing Whippets Running Team, a New York-based running squad.
“As some of you may be aware, one of our members intentionally cut the course at a Half Marathon this past weekend,” according to a statement on the group’s website. “The member in question has admitted to cheating, has been officially disqualified from the race, and has apologized to the DWRT Board.”
February 22, 2017 | 1:30pm | Updated
Two college football players who were suspended from their team last year and saw their scholarships revoked after rape accusations have been cleared by police after authorities say their accuser recanted her story.
Nikki Yovino, 18, of South Setauket, NY, has been charged with second-degree falsely reporting an incident and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence in connection to an incident at a Sacred Heart University football party in October, the Connecticut Post reports.
When pressed about inconsistencies in her original statement, Yovino admitted that she made up the rape allegations against the two football players in hopes of gaining sympathy from another man — a prospective boyfriend, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
Police said Yovino told them on Oct. 15 at a hospital where they responded for a sexual assault complaint that she attended a Sacred Heart football club party the night before at a house on Lakeside Drive in Bridgeport.
Investigators said Yovino claimed two men pulled her into a bathroom in the basement of the house and held her down, taking turns sexually assaulting her, the Connecticut Post reports.
“I don’t want to be in here, I don’t want to do anything,” police said she claimed she told the men. “My friends are waiting for me outside, let me go outside.”
Both men admitted having sex with Yovino, but claimed it was consensual. Bridgeport Police Detective Walberto Cotto Jr. later questioned Yovino after other students said it appeared Yovino went into the bathroom willingly with the two men.
One student, according to the arrest warrant affidavit, said he overheard Yovino telling the men she wanted to have sex with them.
“She admitted that she made up the allegation of sexual assault against (the football players) because it was the first thing that came to mind and she didn’t want to lose (another male student) as a friend and potential boyfriend. She stated that she believed when (the other male student) heard the allegation it would make him angry and sympathetic to her,” according to the affidavit.
Mark Sherman, Yovino’s attorney, said he had not yet been provided with police reports and video footage pertaining to the case, but told The Post he expects Yovino to plead not guilty at her arraignment on March 3.
“The details of what happened here will come out at the appropriate time during the court process,” Sherman wrote in an email.
Yovino, who was released after posting $5,000 bond, faces up to five years in prison if convicted on the tampering charge, a felony, the Connecticut Post reports.
Sacred Heart officials declined to provide information about specific students, including the identities of the two former football players and whether they will be reinstated by the university, citing federal privacy laws, in a statement to The Post.
“However, I can say that the facts as presented in the Connecticut Post article you are referencing are not entirely accurate,” university spokeswoman Deborah Noack wrote in an email. “Whenever there is any kind of incident at Sacred Heart University, we go to great lengths to ensure due process for all parties involved. The way that this particular case is playing out certainly demonstrates the validity of our procedures.”
Noack also declined to indicate whether Yovino was a current or former student at the university. Her Facebook page identifies her as a psychology and pre-med student at Sacred Heart University and Suffolk County Community College.