Demographic ranks


Demographic Rank

The Smashrun ranks have always lumped everyone together. Grandmothers are comparing their 5k times to college track stars. It’s pretty discouraging.  So, starting soon, we’re going to calculate individual ranks for distance, discipline, and speed across different brackets. We could have implemented the familiar age and gender related delineations, but in case you haven’t noticed, we like to do things a bit differently.

In a perfect world, brackets would match your peer groups. Who do you really compare yourself to? It might be your fellow ultra-trail runners, or it could be other people working on losing their winter beer belly, or other women who just had their first child. Lines like those are hard to draw, so we need your help.  When you visit the ranks page, you’ll be able to vote for an existing demographic or create your own, and see who joins. After a few weeks, after the dust settles, we’ll take the top 10-20, and make them permanent.

There’s a few things you’ll want to keep in mind.

First, I know it might seem like a site as incredible as Smashrun must have a gazillion users, but there’s actually not all that many of us (I know, I know, we’re shocked too). So you’ve got to be thoughtful about your suggestions. It would be awesome to create a group for 2nd year law students in Guatemala, but you’ll have to get at least 100 people on board for us to be able to build rank.

Second, you’ve got to remember this is a vote. If there’s not enough people we can’t build a useful rank. With just a few people you’ll get bumped around too much by other people’s changes in activity. So, when you choose a demographic you’ve got to choose one you think other people will choose too. And remember to see if the rank you want already exists before you create a new one.

Lastly, I know it’d be incredible if we could simultaneously rank you across many different demographics, but I’ll be honest with you – that’s really, really hard, and we’re not that smart. You’ve got to pick your best demographic, the one that really sums up how you’re different than the average runner.

It’s one giant experiment. We have absolutely no idea how it’s going to turn out. Maybe we’ll end up with cross-dressing zookeepers, as a demographic rank. It really does slow you down when you step in elephant poo in heels, so it could make sense…


We’re currently experiencing issues getting pauses from Garmin sync, It’s likely they will likely resolve it on their end in the next few days. In the meantime if you experience the issue, it can be resolved by importing the TCX file which will register the pauses correctly. Apologies for the inconvenience.

  1. Schlermie

    I noticed a number of gender and age-related demographics. (men; men >40; men in 40s; men >30; men > 45-49?, …) Since our profiles already have our gender and age specified, are these demographic categories adding any substantial value?

    • Chris

      Yeah. I mean, it’s going to be a grand experiment in crowd sourcing. We’re hoping the good will out, but we may make some adjustments in the coming days to give it a push.

      The thing we’re asking is does a group for example like “men > 40” the thing that best represents your peers? For many maybe it does…and if enough choose it, it will be one of the categories we keep.

  2. fletcher

    Great idea … Got a bit excited and unfortunately my attempt to create a new ranking group was full of spelling errors and the title exceeded the limit so looks plain wrong

    Anyway, I wanted to call it Elite/Professional Athlete (not that i am one) – i just see it essential to have at least one category that allows runners to measure themselves against those at the pointy end of the pack – in retrospect you probably need a male and a female (so ‘Elite/Professional Male’ and ‘Elite/Professional Female’ one so perhaps i should have created one of each ??).

    Thanks as always for a great site.

    • Chris

      Good category! I’ll fix the typo. Edit functionality seemed a bit overkill for a feature that was only going to be around for a couple weeks.

      • fletcher

        I have been through all of the groups online and most of them fit into these categories below … at the moment the top 20 would leave out some major categories of runners. Using the following almost all are captured but obviously without the high definition of the specific groups online. There would need to be a male and femal version of each ideally. (sorry for the geeks and nerds)

        Injured/Sick, Medical Condition/Disabled , Young Age, Middle Age, Old Age, Runner Short Distance, Runner Middle Distance, Runner Long Distance, Runner Multi-sport, Other sports, Desk Job, Active Job, Military, Skinny, Average Weight, Over weight, LGBT, Geeks/Nerds :-) , Elite/Professional, Experienced, Beginner, Vegan/Vegetarian/Paleo

        • Chris

          Next week we’re going to do some culling/coalescing, and your list is a good starting point. There’s a lot of demographics of one at present. But it’s also only just day 2.

  3. Cherylynn

    I like the idea of this feature! I wanted to join two groups, though. One would be my age/gender group (for stats that are more related to running), but the other would be an interest group (Zombies, Run!) (for stats that would just be for interest/fun).

    • Cyron

      I agree with this! However it is implemented, being able to be a member of multiple groups is what will really give it legs.

    • Cyron

      I agree with this! However it is implemented, being able to be a member of multiple groups is what will really give it legs.

      Edit – Sorry for the dupe post. Forgot to subscribe to replies on my first one.

  4. Len

    Chris –

    The Garmin pause thing is really broken. I have to edit the time for each Smashrun run to remove traffic stops, water breaks etc. Any idea on what the problem is?

    Thanks, Len

    • Chris

      It definitely is. We’re working on a fix. Garmin is no longer sending pause data, so unless they change the fix unfortunately means we’re going to have to guess at them.

  5. Andrew

    This is a great idea. Will we be able to switch among groups once you get them locked in? I can identify with several already, and am struggling to just pick one. In fact, could you build a way so that we can opt in to several, but only show ranking results if enough people have also opted in to that group to give meaningful results?

  6. Scott

    I am very interested to see how this plays out.

    I could easily have chosen multiple groups (Men in 40s, Triathletes, Clydesdale runners, Run Streakers, desk job and kids)

    I am hoping this doesn’t turn into something where I end up at the very top of the distance/frequency/speed leaderboards. (<30 MPW, 24 day running streak, 14 min/mile pace) This would feel like "keep adding more and more filters until you are the best".

    I am not against this by any means…just interested to see how it plays out

  7. Neil Pye

    I imagined rankings to be in a sort of league table according to distance. Distance categories would be the fairly obvious 5k, 10k, half/m, full/M and possibly ultra distances. The Ranking would then fit into time ‘windows’ or ‘leagues’ to use football terminology e.g for 5k Ranking windows would be 40-45 minutes, 35-40 minutes, 30-35 minutes, 25-30 etc. That way you could hopefully see yourself move from the bottom of one ‘window or league’ towards the top as times decrease and then onto the bottom of the next league/window. I think that’s quite a clear way to establish one’s position/rank within a league but also provide motivation to get in the next one. It also covers the ‘disciplines’ of the different distances. 5k and 10k Funrun tables could also possibly exist??

  8. Rodd Wagner

    When thinking about which comparison set is best for me, I immediately ran into a question: “Are you talking about me when I’m running with my dog or without him?”

    Most of us who run with our dogs have very different times and paces when we’re with Fido than when we’re not. To analyze our runs, we need to analyze the two data sets separately. So far as I’m aware, no running site has yet added that binary variable to the mix.