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GPS Watches 2022 - What 110 OCR Athletes Think

Updated: Jun 20

We've been running this series for several years now, and each year we get positive feedback, so that's why we keep updating it. Thank you to everyone who filled out the survey, and thank you to those who contributed photos for the article. You are awesome! Now...on to the data.

To view data from our most recent survey, visit: GPS Watches 2023

Here are the questions we asked, and the answers OCR athletes provided!

1: What were the 3 most important factors you considered when purchasing your current GPS watch?

In all previous years, social media and ads have been ranked super low. I think this is the worst they've done yet. It makes me wonder...if recommendations on social media don't play a factor, is this article worthless? Yikes. I'm going to hope not. Obviously Durability and Water Proof are super important in OCR. Lots of OCRs can last many hours, so battery life is a strong selling point as well.

OCR athlete Brian at the 2019 Vegas Toughest wearing his Garmin Fenix 5S.

2: If forced to use a different brand apart your current one, which would you choose?

As a Suunto user myself, and one who really likes my Suunto 9, COME ON, SUUNTO. You are people's back-up plan...not good. Get your act together ;). In all seriousness though, it looks like no one knows about, or cares about: Amazfit, Tomtom, Wahoo Fitness, Casio, or Timex. Sorry guys. You aren't even people's back-up plan. Well, at least not as far as the 110 surveyed are concerned.

OCR athlete Karolynne (@karojohnson on Instagram) wearing the Coros Vertix 2. She is a Spartan Race Canada ambassador, and she shared a discount code for all those competing in Canada. Use code SRCBA-782H for 15% off Canada races only. Valid for all heats and distances for 2022 & 2023.

3: Is there a watch brand or model that you tried and didn't like? If so, which one, and why? We'll include brands in our article which get multiple negative responses. If you haven't had a bad experience, just write: NA.

Fitbit is our BIG LOSER here. 17 people listed Fitbit. I've listed 4 quotes that seem to sum up what most people said about it:

"FitBit. They aren’t durable enough."

"Fitbit, cheaply made, not durable, lacking features."

"Fitbit, good for the average runner. Not so much for OCR or ultra ocr."

"Fit bit- wasn't durable and the company doesn't stand behind their products."

I think the general idea here is that maybe Fitbit is adequate for a person using it for more gentle endeavors, but it isn't holding up well in OCR.

Apple Watch is our second loser here. 7 people listed Apple watch. Interestingly enough, not one of them gave any reasons why. They just wrote, "Apple" or "Apple watch". With no listed reason, perhaps take it with a grain of salt. If I had to guess based on historical data and responses, Apple Watches don't have a great battery life for OCR. That could be one of the issues. Durability MIGHT be another based on previous year's results as well. I did hear recently that Apple was planning on making a super-durable watch, but I digress.

OCR athlete Michael wearing his Garmin Forerunner 945 at Tough Mudder Scotland 2022.

4: Which GPS watch brand do you CURRENTLY use for racing and/or training?

This data is just wild. Garmin has run away with the win a lot, AGAIN. It makes me wonder how much bigger Garmin is as a company compared to these others. Also, keep in mind, we put the survey in over 50 OCR Facebook groups, and people fill it out at random. We have people from countries all over the world answering, and yet Garmin is still crushing it every year. Props to them!

OCR athlete Julie

5: What is the MODEL of watch that you currently use? (Please include the Brand & Model in your answer)

Instead of listing every model, I'm listing the top 5 models that were written down. Because there are so many generations/variations of certain models, I'm just labeling them by model name with no extra additions.

1: Garmin Fenix - 34 votes

2: Garmin Forerunner - 20 votes

3: Garmin Vivoactive - 12 votes

4: Garmin Instinct - 7 votes

5: Apple Watch - 6 votes


Thanks for reading! You can follow us:

On Facebook: @TrioFitnessTraining

On Instagram: @triofitnesstraining

We offer a wide variety of OCR training programs dependent on your goals. For general fitness for OCR, check out The Forge.

3 Workouts Per Week

The Forge training program provides you with 3 workouts per week designed to improve your overall fitness for Obstacle Course Racing. You're strength, speed, and endurance will all be tested. Each week of programming will help you improve your running and grip strength. It's time to forge yourself into the best OCR athlete you can be!

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