A Bizarre Case
One of his most high-profile catches came last month, when he unraveled the race of Jane Seo, a food and fitness writer with a huge social media following.
Seo finished second among women in the Fort Lauderdale A1A Half Marathon, raising eyebrows with an official who noticed that her pace jumped from 6:40/mile to 5:25/mile in the second half of the race.
Someone at the race tipped off Murphy, and he went to work.
In a finish line photo, he spotted that Seo was wearing a GPS watch. He zoomed in on the watch's face and noticed that the distance recorded was only 11.65 miles, not 13.1.
"I think the fact she worked for Huffington Post and went to Harvard led to the amount of attention she received, as much as or more than my investigative work. For that, I do feel bad."
Seo later posted GPS data to her Strava account that supposedly showed her mile splits, but Murphy wasn't fooled.
"The cadence was the giveaway," he says. "Her cadence was in line with someone riding a bike. When compared to data she posted from runs, the difference was clear."
He also discovered that the data was recorded hours after the race.
His findings attracted national media attention, and on Instagram, Seo ultimately admitted she cut the course and tried cover it up.
She was disqualified from the race and kicked off her running team, the Dashing Whippets.
"I am torn on the attention that Jane received," Murphy says. "I never reported on her employment or education. I felt it was irrelevant. I think the fact she worked for Huffington Post and went to Harvard led to the amount of attention she received, as much as or more than my investigative work. For that, I do feel bad."
Murphy says many runners are motivated to cheat to get into the Boston Marathon, but there are also many cases "where the only motivation seems to be so the runner can post about it on social media."