Couch to 5K
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Is Runkeeper telling lies??? (And Parkruns are brilliant!)

This morning I finally got around to running my first Parkrun. And right from the off let me say if anyone has one of these local to them - GO FOR IT!

What a superb morning, great atmosphere, great organisation, great fun. (And free lets not forget!)

However, its highlighted the fact that, well .............. Runkeeper is wrong!

Parkruns are of course 5km runs, measured precisely.. But according to Runkeeper my 5km Parkrun was actually 5.32km, with the 5km mark coming at 28:22. A personal best for me (if indeed it was 5km)

However, according to the official Parkrun results, I actually ran 5km in 30:22. A full two minutes slower than Runkeeper. And I'm more inclined to trust the official Parkrun results than a GPS app.

But I have to confess, this is a bit of set back for me.

When I first ran a sub 30 minute 5km, it looks like I didn't.

When I ran a sub 60 minute 10km for the first time, I probably didn't after all.

As much as the challenge is set for me to beat 30 minutes on the next Parkrun, its something I thought I'd already achieved.

I now know that when I next go out running, everything Runkeeper tells me is false. The speed for the distance is wrong. If I run 5km in 30 minutes, it looks like I'm actually running around 4.7km in 30 minutes.

I'm gutted to be honest and wondering what the best way forward is. My times mean a lot to me, I like to try and beat myself and seeing progress is crucial.

What do you fine folk use when running? If anything.

Ps. And to repeat, Parkruns are ace! Do one. Really, you should if you haven't already.

6 Replies


That's a shame and I can understand why you must be disappointed now, knowing you are running slower than you actually thought you were - I had a similar disappointment a while back over my weight because I was, and still am, losing weight but I bought new scales and found I weighed 9kg more on the new scales than the old! I was gutted, but the way I look at it is, at least you know now - better now than further down the line - and if you keep your determination going you will improve and go below 30 and 60 minutes for the 5K and 10K. That's what I said to myself when I found out, and if anything, it's made me even more determined to keep going, losing weight and I feel the same about my running!

You can still use your Runkeeper until you can find something more accurate, because you can still use it as a benchmark and check if you are speeding up compared to your earlier times...

Sorry, can't help with using anything else...


I suppose you could try another app? Or double check by timing yourself and then measuring your route on Map my Run or similar (that's what I did before I got a smartphone). Anyway, that was a pretty good first parkrun result so well done... Also our parkrun twitter explained timings are not always totally accurate owing to the start often bunching up... So you may well have been sub 30... :-)


I'm using runkeeper and have had the op posite problem. I think it's the when the GPS drops out it seems to send mine haywire. I think I'm inclined to trust parkrun times a bit more and am going to try a different app to see if it's a bit more consistent. BTW..yes park runs are amazing, best start to the weekend available!!


I have seen a few comparisons on the web between smartphone apps and GPS watches like Garmin, and generally the Garmin type comes out as more accurate.

If you're interested it was explained quite well in the following post:

"Keep in mind that the iPhone will fail over to GPS-A. GPA-A (Also known as assisted GPS), means that if it loses sat reception it'll use cell-based triangulation. This has a much lesser degree of accuracy.

The Garmin FR305 does not have GPS-A, and thus if you lose GPS'll stop recording data points. Once you gain signal back (within the specified accuracy range), then it'll start plotting data points. The distance between the last known point and the next known point is automatically computed (albeit in a straight line).

In short, the Garmin is likely to be more accurate in a sat loss situation. In a non-sat-loss situation, they're likely to be mostly identical outside the normal GPS variation and recording interval ranges."


Hi- well done on completing the parkrun and in such a great time (whichever is correct). Here we also have a discrepancy between the measured 5k and that measured by Garmins. My Garmin consistently measures it as 4.8km and another runner finds the same both at our and the a different parkrun course she does. Part of our run is under trees next to a river and sometimes the garmin map looks like I ran in the middle of the river (would account for my slow time ha ha). In the end we think the measurement wheel is more accurate- the only downside is that garmin doesn't recognise a parkrun as a 5k pb on its computer stats.

Hope it helps that others have similar issues. Happy Sunday!



Hi My Garmin 110 generally finishes in the same place most mornings but has been known to be as much as +- 100 meters on the odd occasion. The Parkrun courses are measured accurately but not every week I suspect..... I often find the markers for K's are in slightly different places each week but generally end up with 4.9 or 5.1K overall.


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