Ever heard of the name Gary Muhrcke? He won the first NYC marathon in 1970.


He was also a firefighter. He injured his back in a burning building and was retired with ¾ disability pension. In 1975, he started running again. He said he felt better while exercising compared to taking medication for the pain.


In 1977, Muhrcke won the Empire State Building stair-climb race.


Muhrcke said “People asked, ‘What’s a guy who can run up 102 flights of stairs doing with a fire department disability pension?’


“They had to hold a departmental inquiry,” he added. “But I proved that the ability to run is different from the ability to pull and carry a 200-pound person out of a burning building — and a fireman’s job is to pull and carry. So I still have the pension. And I still have recurring back problems.”

I suppose.

No one would have even made the connection between a disability pension recipient and winning a prestigious athletic event unless it made the news – as it did back then.

The world has changed.

Today, there’s so much data floating around, it would be difficult to imagine such stones would not being unturned. A subset of people called Quantified Selfs measure a gazillion data points about themselves daily.. These individuals wear tracking devices – such Fit Bit. The Fit Bit records how much physical activity a person exerted in any given day. Is the trend up? Is the trend down? Fit Bit is just one of many such devices.

Some wearables include GPS location information. Was the participant on a running course? A mountain bike trail?

In the future, when people are fighting over disability payments, these data points will be part of a court record. This is a probably a welcome step. When a doctor sees a patient for 30 minutes in a practice, he only sees a snapshot of a patient’s life. With more data points, a movie can be reconstructed.