Parkrun timing glitches - twice in two runs

How common is this?

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15/06/2013 at 17:58

First of all I'll preface this by saying I love Parkrun and think it's a beautiful and phenomenal thing.

However, at the last two runs I've done, at different venues, my wife's times have been completely wrong. At the last one we did we ran together, and we both timed her as having smashed her 5k PB, but the time she was given was a minute slower than we'd each recorded and didn't seem to stack up given who finished either side of us.

Now today she put in a solid run, but the result has come back with a time nearly 5 minutes faster than she actually managed. So it's gone down in the logs as a huge PB, but she's miles away from the sort of pace she'd have needed to do, so it might prove impossible to ever get near it.

I emailed about the first instance but didn't hear back. Just wondered how commonplace this is.

15/06/2013 at 18:44

46 runs and I've never experienced an issue.  I've also volunteered in numerous roles so knowing a little about the workings and can't really see gow it would happen, not by those margins.  A mix up in the finish funnel would only make seconds of a difference. How have the times been on any of her previous parkruns ?

i don't suppose you noticed the position number on the finish token and whether or not this was the same as the published results ?

I would suggest that you email the parkruns concerned as they may have had a timer issue but it does seem peculiar that it was two different ones.   I know you said you'd emailed but I'd check the address and try again. 


15/06/2013 at 18:59
For what it's worth my results have always been within a second or 2 of my stopwatch so no complaints here.
15/06/2013 at 19:01

I would say very uncommon. Your wife should be careful in lighting storms!

I've done over a 100 parkrun without any problems with my results. I can only think of one person who has received an obviously dodgy time, and that was only a matter of seconds.

I'm kind of surprised nothing happen after you 1st problem results. We had an email from a parkrunner who thought their time was incorrect recently. The results were updated as requested, and they received a huge........ 1 second off their time 

My suspicion is that position tokens were out of order and your wife might of been  given the wrong one. I would suggest emailing that parkrun with her correct time, her position ( If she noticed) and other detail (people around her, etc). Explain your concerns that her official PB maybe unattainable now.

Some parkrun take photos at the finishing funnel which help resolve issues with the  results. If you noticed them photoing the finishers you could give a description of what she was wearing which might help identify her true finishing position.

15/06/2013 at 19:14

I have done 2 parkruns. The first one I finished about a foot behind someone and was given a time 3 seconds slower. The second one , a person that finished 20 metres behind me was given the same time. So Isuppose it depends on the parkrun.

15/06/2013 at 19:39

I've had a couple of things happen recently but they've not been down to human error - the first was a few weeks ago at one parkrun (quite a small one and as I crossed the line they said I was first lady - first (and possibly last) time I've ever managed that.  Anyway, the results don't come out.  Technical problems.  Timer didn't work, so got our positions but not times and everyone gets 59:59.  So I was still down as first lady but with a silly time.  Fortunately, they managed to salvage something from the timer in the end, and lots of people emailed their Garmin times so it was ok in the end.


The following week I was at a different parkrun.  This is parkrun 49, so quite important that it counts as I am doing my 50th run the following Sat.  So what happens - I get a dodgy finish token.  I could tell by looking at it that it wasn't going to scan and it didn't.  Fortunately they put my time in manually for me but I had to wait until the Sunday evening but they replied to my email. So I was able to do my 50th the following Saturday without any more glitches.

Last two weeks have been great - no problems at all and results have come through very quickly.

Anyway that's a long way of saying these things happen and the volunteers are usually very good at sorting these things out.  It may also be worth going onto their  Facebook page (or Twitter) and saying you've emailed but not had a response as they will let you know if you've emailed the wrong people, or can check their spam filter etc.

15/06/2013 at 19:53
Rich Jackson wrote (see)

I don't suppose you noticed the position number on the finish token and whether or not this was the same as the published results ?

Didn't see I'm afraid. She was on her own coming in, but on the results she's in among a pack of runners, so something's gone tits up somewhere. She recognises the name of the girl that finished next after her, and she's the next name in the results. We think she might have been related to one of the volunteers, so hopefully we won't be the only ones to notice something's up.

15/06/2013 at 20:11

Yeah, scrutinising the results a bit more, there's some enormous PBs in there. Not implausible for runners to have been jogging round previously and then going for it this morning, but there seem to have been an awful lot of them smashing their best (by 7 mins plus in some cases) in one run. She's emailed querying it.

15/06/2013 at 21:01

Could be a batch of finish tokens out of sequence ?

15/06/2013 at 21:14

That was my first thought.

17/06/2013 at 13:08

I would say its finish tokens given out in the wrong order perhaps - it happens and if the people who are giving the tokens out notice it then they can tell whoever uploads the results and it can be sorted out.
Having processed the results at our local one, i know how difficult it can be sometimes to sort out problems. we always check the tokens are in the right order before they are handed out but if someone gets the ones in their hand the wrong way round. . .
In addition if anyone doesnt scan we take the details by clipboard, and do spot timings at the finish too.

The best thing you can do is let the Run Director at your parkrun know how far out the results were and they will possibly be able to look at how the tokens are being processed.

Even better, you could volunteer to do the tokens yourself and see if you can spot how it could be done better?

Cheerful Dave    pirate
17/06/2013 at 13:59
Max's Mum wrote (see)

Even better, you could volunteer to do the tokens yourself and see if you can spot how it could be done better?

At my local one, the person handing out the tokens calls out the finish position as he hands it over, so the finisher knows what position they're in before they look at the token (the volunteer is obviously checking as well but at times the finishers are coming in too quickly to check each one individually).

Of course, not everyone looks at their token before they hand it over, but enough do that if they were being handed out in the wrong order it would get picked up pretty quickly.  As far as I know, aside from the odd missing token they've never had a problem in over 300 events.

cougie    pirate
17/06/2013 at 18:02
Seems a sensible solution to me ?
17/06/2013 at 18:13

I posted earlier Steven about having run only 2 parkruns,both of which had semi dubious timings,this was at Grovelands.I dont know what it is like at other parkruns but at Grovelands I think you can take their timings with a pinch of salt. Which is a pity as I have just started running and am still able to set PB,s. I suppose parkruns appeal more to the fun runner and maybe should be treated as such.

17/06/2013 at 18:26

The last three or four I've been at have recorded my result incorrectly (same event).  I haven't contacted them because I don't really care but obviously questions the results accuracy and method of recording.

17/06/2013 at 18:53

Asking around in the real world, it does appear to be a common issue.

In theory the place chips are a simple and effective solution, but if they're given out in the wrong order, everything potentially goes to pot.

17/06/2013 at 19:43
Steven O'Donoghue 3 wrote (see)

So there you have it. If you want a weekly timed run, forget Parkrun- time yourself!!!!   I don't think he saw the irony as he was pinging off that email LMAO.       


Steven, he clearly isn't saying that. He's responding to your request for a time to be given to you as you cross the line. Being as the people running the events are all volunteers and the person doing the times has enough on their plate making sure these are being recorded correctly (although clearly they are having issues at that particular park run) I think it's perfectly reasonable to say that if you want to know your time immediately, then wear a watch. That's what most other runners do.

These are free events, run by volunteers so although it's perfectly reasonable to flag up errors when they're made, I don't think it's very reasonable to start demanding changes and then whingeing when you don't get them. If you don't like it, you can, as you say, forget park run and time yourself.


17/06/2013 at 20:01

I've never done a Parkrun, as they don't really appeal to me, but if you want accurately recorded times because PBs are important to you, then pay the entry fee for a chip-timed race.

(They get it wrong sometimes, so wear a watch too, just in case.)

17/06/2013 at 20:03
You could always ask for your money back.
17/06/2013 at 21:19

Ivor, were you in Yorkshire by any chance? Only at my parkrun the other week, we had two people who don't know the course make a mistake and cut quite a chunk off, by running the second lap the same as the first. 

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