Which distance is correct?

  On the weekend I ran the Somersault Events Fall Colours 10k race. The route takes you from the Cumberland Heritage Museum through the local community. As the name suggested, the route has many trees that are in full fall colours. It’s also a hillier route than I was expecting; nothing outrageous but certainly more hills than flats. What I found most interesting is the discrepancy between my running app and the official distance of the race. I’ve been using Strava since May when I switched from the Nike+ app because it kept crashing and draining my battery by 2kms. 

On race day, I noticed at each km marker that Strava was hitting that distance a few meters earlier. Nothing major, but it clearly added up. By the end of the race, the app was reading 10.8 km; I checked a few other people and we all had the same extra distance. So whose distances are correct? The runners’ or the race event organizers’? At the end of the day I had a solid run and a PB. I cut 4 minutes off my race time finish at 61 mins, but if I use the app distance/time then I cut 9 mins and I came in under an hour (56 mins). Hey it’s pretty hard to complain about two PB’s in the same event. Like I said I’m happy with the results, and one day I will actually finish a 10k race under the 1 hr marker. 

Is it common for running apps to be so different than race distances?

What’s more important to you: training/recreational PB or race day PB? 

4 thoughts on “Which distance is correct?

  1. It’s good news no matter how you slice it 🙂

    I use a Garmin and it’s not uncommon for me to get slightly different results from run to run on the same route. I’ve never been able to understand why.
    I don’t think I’ve ever run a race where the race distance and my watch were in agreement although 800 metres sounds rather large. On smaller races, it is likely because the course distance isn’t completely accurate

  2. It is pretty common for Garmins to be off a bit from the race distances – the race distance is usually measured using the shortest possible route, so if you weave alot, then more distance. BUT – 800m is not weaving and more of a measuring or marshalling error, especially if many watches were off. Knowing my experiences with Fall Colours – it was a route problem. But a PB is a PB! Congrats!

  3. Pingback: Fall Colours 10k Recap | My Running Blog

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