Couch to 5K
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How are the times at a Park run calculated?

I have read on the Parkrun web site about the runs and they look really good, but how is the run time calculated? It says for better runners to start nearer the front and others further back, and form one video I saw, the starter shouted 'Go' and everyone went off at once. That part I am fine with, but does everyone's time start from the time the starter said go, or when they cross a certain point? If the timings start for everyone at the same time, surely slower runners have a disadvantage before they even start, as will have a few metres extra to run than those at the front of the pack? Also how do is the time recorded at the end. It says something about 'tokens' but what are these? Sorry for so many questions in one, but am curious as to how it all works. And is there anyone that goes to Tilgate Park Run (Crawley)?

4 Replies

The time is calculated by the "Go"/Horn whatever is used. There are around 70-100 at my local Parkrun most weeks and the fastest runners always go to the front, its safer that way. As you cross the finish line you are clocked by the Time Keeper with number gadget, then you go through the funnel and are handed a place number token (corresponds with TKG), you then have your bar code scanned to match with your place token. This matches you to your place and time. Hope that makes sense.

I wouldn't worry too much about losing time being at the back its surprising how quickly they all spread out and you are able to find your own pace then too. I hope you enjoy your Parkrun I love going down to mine more often than not to do a duty, the friendliness of the runners makes even the coldest, wettest days worth the effort.


I think the idea behind the parkrun is that is more of a social community thing as opposed to a proper race. Yes there are people there who take it very seriously and they will be at the front at the start. If you feel you will be slowed down at the start get to one side and run past everyone that is clumped together.


The point is to get your own time, and use that as your benchmark, it doesnt matter about the others, most parunners are just interested in bettering their own time each time they do it (obviously those at the front are more competitive and also like trying to beat one another to the finish too)


The first time I did Parkrun I started in the middle, the second time I started near the back, and got a faster time! I don't think you loose much time by begin at the back (maybe a few seconds), and if you start too far up the front you get stuck amongst a big bunch all trying to pass each other out, almost falling over each other. I settled into my own pace much more quickly starting near the back as it wasn't so packed.


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