Reality Check: Running GPS vs. Course Length

I just uploaded months of running from my Garmin, including data from the Philadelphia Half Marathon. Call it a year end data dump. There I was, leopard jammies on, massive coffee in hand, excited to check out my stats from the past few races. So I looked. Then I squinted… Britney is ConfusedWhat the hell?

How does that happen? How does a half marathon turn into 13.33 miles instead of 13.1? Not that huge of a discrepancy, but it’s still not the advertised-sticker for your car-stinking-13.1 miles. What’s the damn deal?!?! My marathon was 26.5. COME ON. You train all those miles, sweat gallons, lose toenails, wind up in the damn ER (Oops. That’s just me.) and your Garmin shits the bed?!?!

Don’t blame it on your Garmin.

Our friends at the Rock-n-Roll Marathon Series shared this info graphic with Tina and I and it is our duty as Responsible Running Bloggers to share this with the Blog-o-sphere. It’s a good one, in my humble opinion. Your GPS device may not read the official length of the course.

Why not?

Because GPS devices are not as precise as certified course measurement which is done by bike. (YEAY! Bikes!) It simply takes a bicycle, a “Jones Oerth” counter and a few hours of time to ride the course. That was a new word for me, Jones Oerth. I plan on using it in a sentence at least once this week. “Certified” means a course has been measured to exacting standards and is at least the stated distance. Thats the key – standardized. So take a look at this graphic. And, don’t ditch the Garmin. :-).

Read more here!

Running GPS vs Course Length Infographic

Has this happened to you? Have you thrown your Garmin in disgust? Did you know how certified courses are measured? Not me. Until now. ๐Ÿ™‚