Proof that stats aren't everything: Or, when is... - Couch to 5K

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Proof that stats aren't everything

ArthurJG profile image

Or, when is a record not a record?

My Dad used to own a book called 'How to lie with statistics'.

Well -

Only once in my life, I have finished a parkrun with more people behind me than in front of me. I was 61st out of 134 and set what was at the time a PB.

I have beaten that PB just once since. That day I was 64th out of 85.

Today, according to the parkrun website, I achieved my highest ever placing - 59th. Out of .... 59. I was tailwalking! I finished in a higher position simply because everyone else decided to do the Christmas shopping today and we had the lowest ever attendance at Montrose: nothing to do with my own running, because I wasn't even running at all most of the time.

Just thought it was a good illustration of how numbers are only meaningful if you understand the context.

4 Replies
UnfitNoMore profile image


There was a tailwalker who was also first finisher recently... 4 runners, 3 male and a female tailwalker!

The run was also interesting as it was won by a man running with a blade prosthetic... going by the name of Juan Leg 😂. Looking at his stats he has been first finisher a few times, once while also last finisher (in January I think) yes, a parkrun with one runner and several volunteers.

I heard about this on the excellent Free Weekly Timed podcast.

It is so true! Statistics mean nothing without proper context. You may have heard the joke: If someone shoots at me twice, first time misses by one meter to the right and then by one meter to the left, then in average I am dead!!! 💀. 🤣

LucyLou9 profile image

There’s a saying that statistics are like a bikini, what they reveal is interesting but what they conceal is crucial.

Dexy5 profile image

Good point Arthur. My non-running friend was delighted today to be first in her age category while tail walking with me. She is so chuffed that she now wants to beat her time. Another recruit to c25k.

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