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Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about the Pace Bands? Visit the Pace Band FAQ.

What are the PR Score and Course Score?

The Personal Record (PR) Score utilizes the course profile, elevation, and typical race day weather to create a score that can be compared to other marathons to determine at which race you could expect to run faster. The higher the score, the faster the race.

Since the length of time spent on the course determines, in part, how much the wet bulb temperature affects your pace, the PR score uses the average marathon completion time of 4:30:00 as the standard in calculations. If you want to see how a specific marathon compares to other marathons at paces other than the standard, use the Marathon Time Converter tool to see how your specific time on one course would translate to other marathons.

The Course Score utilizes the course profile changes and the course elevation to create a score that can be compared to other marathons to determine which race course is faster. Typical race day weather is not factored in.

How are the times on the Marathon Time Converter tool calculated?

The Marathon Time Converter tool utilizes an algorithm derived from research on how grade, elevation, and wet bulb temperature and ambient temperature affect marathon running performance. The specific course profile, course elevation, and the typical race time wet bulb temperature and ambient temperature data for each marathon is then used to determine how one would expect to perform at one marathon compared to another under these conditions.

PR Scores are determined using the average marathon finish time of 4:30:00. Therefore, when you input your specific finish time, you may find some races with lower PR Scores yield slightly faster estimated equivalent times when compared to races with higher PR Scores. This is due to how much wet bulb temperature and ambient temperature affects runners with slower finish times.

Obviously there are limitations and no calculator is ever perfect for every individual. However, the Marathon Time Converter tool gives you a very good indication of how your time on one course would translate to another course on a typical race day.

If you do not see a marathon listed that you would like to compare (certified races only), please send me a message and I'll list it as soon as I can.

In addition to an extensive analysis of marathon weather and finish times, below is a list of references utilized in determining the Time Converter, PR Score, and Course Score algorithms.

Vihma, Timo. "Effects of weather on the performance of marathon runners." International Journal of Biometeorology 54.3 (2010): 297-306.
Ely, Matthew R., et al. "Impact of weather on marathon-running performance." Medicine and science in sports and exercise 39.3 (2007): 487-493.
Trapasso, L. Michael, and Jeffery D. Cooper. "Record performances at the Boston Marathon: biometeorological factors." International journal of biometeorology 33.4 (1989): 233-237.
El Helou, Nour, et al. "Impact of environmental parameters on marathon running performance." PLoS One 7.5 (2012): e37407.

How is the distance from the search location determined when using the 'By Location' search tool?

The distance is from the radius of a circle around the Address, City, Zip Code, etc. that you input into the Location box. In other words, "as the crow flies." It does not take the driving distance into account.

If you want to include all marathons that meet your criteria, regardless of where it is in the United States and Canada, choose "Include All" for your distance.

How is the Course Profile determined?

A course profile is subjective. One person may think a course is mostly flat while another may think the course is hilly. However, we have attempted, as best as we can, to take some of this subjectivity out of the equation. Our profiles are based on the course profiles, course elevations, runner opinions, and race organizer descriptions.

If you feel that one of our course profiles is incorrect please let us know on our Contact Us page. In addition, please add your opinion about the course and race within each marathon's Rate & Review section.

How is the Course Surface determined?

"Road" marathon courses are run on pavement, asphalt, or any other hard surface. Trails include both technical single track courses and groomed trails (or combinations of both). The "Mostly Road" courses include up to 15% (~4 miles) of trails or soft surfaces. The "Mostly Trail" courses include up to 15% (~4 miles) of roads or hard surfaces.

Are all certified courses also Boston Marathon qualifiers?

Yes...well, maybe. The majority of marathons certified by the USATF or Athletics Canada are Boston Qualifiers. Exceptions are the indoor marathons. Even though many are certified, currently, they cannot be used as qualification races for marathons. However, check with the B.A.A. if you have any doubt about whether or not your marathon is a Boston Qualifier.

Why do you only include marathons in the United States and Canada?

We are working on including other locations. More information to come soon.

Send us message and let us know what countries or areas you would like to see.

What if I don't see a marathon listed or believe information needs to be updated or is incorrect?

We want to know! We try our best, but we do miss things. Please complete the form on the Contact Us page and let us know.

What information can I put into the Location field when using the 'By Location' search tool?

You can input any location you want. uses Google Maps, so you can input various locations such as street addresses, cities, states, landmarks, etc. We recommend using a specific address to ensure the best search result.

Why do we use the exact Finish Line as the location of the marathon?

We want to provide the exact location that the marathon takes place, not just the city, to ensure a more accurate distance. The finish line is used since some marathons are point-to-point and finish far away from the start. Also, the finish area is typically where pre and post-race activities take place.

How do you determine the Race Size?

We use an average of the number of finishers for the last two years the marathon was held. We feel this gives a more accurate representation of the current size of the race since races change from year to year.

Where do the course descriptions come from?

The majority of the course descriptions are from the race web sites. We try to provide you with a brief description of the terrain, running surface, and other things you may expect on the course, rather than turn-by-turn directions for the course.

If you do not see a course description listed and would like to add one, please help us out. Let us know what you think on our update page or add your own course description and your tips for running the marathon on that race's Rate & Review section.

Can I compare races from different states or provinces when using the 'By State' search tool?


1) Search for marathons in one particular State or Province.
2) Click the Compare link and the associated race will display in the Compare Races section above the Results.
3) Then search another State and click Compare to select the second. Both of your selected races are listed and the Compare Races link becomes active.
4)Click the Compare Races link to view the details of both races.

You can also compare races using multiple searches on the By Location or By Keyword search tools as well.