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The $99 Timex Marathon GPS In-Depth Review

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The Timex Marathon GPS unit is the second mainstream sub-$100 GPS watch to hit market in the last few months.  As such, it continues the trend set by Soleus with their GPS 1.0 watch back in the fall.  These watches aren’t marketed at having downloadable workouts, but can instead keep track of your given run including pace, distance, calories and laps.  Afterwards, they also have a basic history function.

At first glance – you may think that Timex has developed an all new product.  But, have they?  Or have they done something else a bit more…interesting?  Well, you’re gonna have to stick around to find out.  I think the answer might just throw you for a loop.  Further, some of the things I found once I started really poking around will also surprise the heck out of ya (at least, it did me).

So, with that introduction, let me put up the usual notes about my review:

Like all my reviews, they tend to be pretty in depth (perhaps overly so) – but that’s just my trademark DC Rainmaker way of doing things. Think of them more like reference guides than quick and easy summaries. I try and cover every conceivable thing you might do with the device and then poke at it a bit more (especially so in the Timex Marathon GPS unit’s case). My goal is to leave no stone unturned – both the good and the bad.

Lastly, at the end of the day keep in mind I’m just like any other regular triathlete out there. I write these reviews because I’m inherently a curious person with a technology background (my day job), and thus I try and be as complete as I can. But, if I’ve missed something or if you spot something that doesn’t quite jive – just let me know and I’ll be happy to get it all sorted out. Also, because the technology world constantly changes, I try and go back and update these reviews as new features and functionality are added – or if bugs are fixed.

Unboxing:

There are two color variants of the Timex Marathon GPS – an all-black variant, and one with blue highlights on it.  They cost them same $99 though.

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Once you’ve removed the outer shell, you’ll find the watch hanging out suspended inside, like an astronaut in their tied to the wall sleeping bag.

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Below the box fold is a small pamphlet manual, and the USB charging cable.

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Getting the watch out of the box does require a pair of scissors or other sharp cutting object (bold cutters, Christmas tree axe, javelin, etc…).  For reasons entirely unclear to me, they zip tied the unit to the little stand.  I suppose it makes for a prettier display – but it’s a pain in the butt to remove.

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Once freed, here’s the sum total of the three parts:

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First up is the charging cable.  This particular USB-based charging cable has two prongs, which supply electrical current.  I again note that it has two prongs with an odd space in between, which is something you should keep in in the back of your mind for a moment…

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Next up is the ever-thrilling manual.  This essentially tells you to press the start button if you want to start, and the stop button if you want to stop.  Like most sport watch manuals, it’s not terribly exciting or informative.

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And finally, here’s the watch itself.  In this case, sitting on its side:

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And a side profile shot:

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And finally – the back.  Now, remember what I said a moment ago about the charging clip having two prongs, versus the back of the unit very clearly having four connectors.  Again, something to keep in mind for a wee bit later on in the review.  Yes, I get to tease you.  And no, don’t pretend ya don’t like it, cause I know ya do.

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Unboxing complete!  Onto how it compares size wise.

Size Comparisons:

In order to give you a quick comparison between a few other sub-$150 running watches that measure distance, I went ahead and took out the trusty rolling pin and got them all lined up.

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On the pin this time we have (from left to right) the Soleus 1.0 GPS, Soleus 2.0 GPS, Timex Marathon GPS, Garmin FR70, and Garmin FR60.  Here’s the side profile view.

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As you can see, the Timex Marathon GPS tapers a bit more than the Soleus units (less blocky), but it is a bit wider.  It’s a fair bit bigger than the FR60/FR70, but neither of those watches have GPS in them – nor a rechargeable battery.

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Since the Soleus watches are pretty much the only GPS competition in this space – heres it next to the Soleus 2.0 unit.  Note that the only visual differences between the 1.0 and 2.0 units is the inner bezel is white, instead of black.  There’s no dimensional differences.

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With that – let’s get out of the kitchen and onto the road!

Running:

When you first turn the unit on for the first time, it’ll take about 30-90 seconds to find satellites in your area.  Though, it’ll remember satellite locations in the future and pick them up quicker the next time.  In my case, the unit had somehow been turned on at a nearby United States Postal Office, and thus, had already managed a GPS lock in the area (and recorded a nifty track) – so it was pretty quick.

Since then, I’ve find that it will usually grab satellites in about 30 seconds, just outside my door.

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Once you’ve got satellites locked, you’re pretty much ready to run.  However, in order to ensure that you get correct calorie information, you’ll probably want to configure your user settings.  Like all calorie calculations done without heart rate information – they tend to be pretty rudimentary.  This is simply mass (weight) x distance (miles/kilometers) with a small offset to compensate for age/gender/height.  So first up, is setting gender.  You do this via the mode button on the bottom left:

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Then from there you’ll set age, followed by weight and height:

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You can only set one user profile per watch, but it’s only used for calorie calculations.  So if you want to share the watch amongst family and you care about calories – simply change the user profile before each run.  Else, just go out and run.

Once you’re ready to start running, you’ll go ahead and press the start button.  It’s the one…well…labeled start.

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This will begin the unit tracking distance and time.  If you need to pause along the way, simply press the stop button (lower right), which is considered pause as well.  An example being if you wait at a stoplight or pause for ice cream during your run (what, you don’t?).

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Once ready to resume, simply press start again and it’ll keep counting from where you left off.

If you’d like to create a lap/interval/split, you’ll press the lap button (same button as start), which will then demark a lap.  At which point it’ll display the current lap time and total time.

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You can also configure the unit to ‘auto lap’.  This will automatically create a lap when you’ve reached a given distance.  The watch is configurable for 1, 2, 3, 4,  and 5-mile auto-lap markers, as well as a bizarre 0.4 mile option (and simply  ‘off’).   If you’re using kilometers, the options are the same  – inclusive of the bizarre 0.4 kilometer option. (Note: As pointed out by a commentor, the .4 kilometer option = 400m, which is a standard loop on a track. Nice!)

I tend to use auto-lap when I’m doing longer runs at a steady pace.  But I don’t usually use it when I’m doing manual interval work.  Instead, for that I just press the button myself since some interval distances may be longer than a mile and I don’t want it incorrectly resetting my lap.

While you’re running, the unit will display your current pace in either minutes/mile, or in minutes/kilometer.  You can configure this within the settings option, which will change all units from miles to kilometers – or vice versa:

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As you run, you’ll essentially have three fields: Time (of activity), distance, and current pace.

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It isn’t many options – but then again, watches in this price category tend to be about the core fundamentals: How far, how fast, and how long.

The pace is instantaneous pace, and it’s slightly smoothed to remove the typical GPS jumpiness.  You cannot display average pace while running – though, it is an option later on in history.

Speaking of history, let’s go ahead and conclude our activity.  To do so, we’ll simply hit ‘Stop’ (bottom right button).  Then, we’ll hold stop for a few seconds.  After a couple seconds it’ll flash that your file has been saved.

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While doing so, it’ll give you an activity file number.  This is incremented from zero, and acts as a simple log book reference point.

To get to the history mode, simply press the mode button a couple times and it’ll show ‘Run Data’:

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In here, you’ll be able to iterate through all past runs to find details about your specific activity.

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Once there, you’ll be able to display the same time/distance/avg pace information about a given activity that you could before.  Except now you’ll also get additional information such as calories (assuming you entered your profile information correctly), as well lap information for all laps recorded:

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As for battery and memory – the unit will display how full the battery is each time you press the ‘On/Off’ button and start a GPS search.  Additionally, it will display how many hours of storage it has left.  You’re looking at roughly 30 hours of total activity storage time before it overwrites older files  (or you manually delete them).

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Note that there is also a simple Chrono mode, for indoor usage.  This is basically just like your normal sport watch, with GPS turned off.  You can store laps/splits in this mode as well – and all of this is accessible via history.  With the GPS off, the unit will last a heck of a lot longer.  I recorded a 28 hour activity the other unit without issue.

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Also note that the unit DOES NOT connect to any sensor accessories, such as a heart rate straps or footpods for indoor use.  Though, interestingly, if you look at the display on an angle, you can clearly see the unit is designed for compatibility with those down the road (see the little heart icon on the right side) – should a firmware update occur:

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To my knowledge, there’s no plans to introduce a firmware update here though from Timex – since it would pretty much kill of Timex’s more expensive devices.

Cycling:

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All of the same settings that are available for running, are also available for cycling.  And in fact, there isn’t actually a separate cycling mode.  Rather, you simply press the middle right button and it’ll swap from displaying minutes/mile to MPH (or from minutes/kilometer to KPH).

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Once in this mode, everything will magically feel appropriate to cycling.

Note that the unit doesn’t come with a bike mount, but I find that any of the generic watch bike mounts work fine, including the default $7 Timex bike mount.

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As a regular watch:

I’m often asked how well sport devices work as regular watches.  And while this isn’t exactly the most stylish watch we’ve seen lately on the GPS fashion runway, it does work just fine as a regular watch.

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The unit allows you to set up to five alarms.  In fact, it’s kinda funny – I had set one of the alarms for midnight, since that’s the default setting if you just enable one without configuring it.  Subsequently forgetting about it – the darn thing has beeped every night at midnight.  It beeps fairly loudly for about 20 seconds, before shutting off.

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The unit itself is listed for 8 hours of active GPS battery life.  But no specific battery life is listed for standby watch.  I will however note that with the Soleus 1.0 unit (same fundamental watch), the unit on a single charge managed to last sitting on my desk for roughly 3 months (a touch over actually).  It was pretty faint by the end – but that’s still really darn impressive.  So if you find yourself shipwrecked on a tropical island, you’re good for at least a season.

Backlight/Nightlight:

The unit features a simple glowing backlight.  The light can be triggered by pressing the ‘Indiglo’ button on the upper left side.

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Once illuminated, the light will stay on for 10 seconds before turning off.  The light is not configurable.  Though, contrast on the display is actually configurable through the menu.  Interestingly, Timex selected to brand the backlight as ‘Indiglo’, like all their other Timex units, but in reality, it’s just a generic backlight – since it shares the same backlight as the Soleus 2.0 unit, which is unbranded.

Waterproofing:

Unlike the Soleus units however, the Timex Marathon GPS is fully waterproofed to 30 meters.  I’ve swam with it in the pool now twice, without any issues, though somehow along the way I forgot to actually take photos of it.  Nonetheless, you can easily see the waterproofing specification on the back.

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Interestingly, this is a very specific design decision that Timex would have selected over the generic case – and seems to go along with the rest of the Timex sport GPS units being fully waterproofed.  A standard I wish other companies would follow.  It also differentiates itself from the Soleus – which actually makes it the singular difference between the two units, beyond case branding.

Charging and Battery Life:

To charge the unit, you’ll simply clip the little charging clip onto it – and then plug the other side into a spare USB port in your abode.  If you can’t find a USB port in your housing facility, consider stealing whatever computer you’re reading this on – and utilizing those USB ports.  If you’re reading this on a phone, then you’d likely have a USB charging block to use.

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It charges surprisingly fast, and lasts about 8hrs of active activities with GPS enabled.  Otherwise, as I noted above, the unit will last forever.  With the definition of forever being about 2-3 months before you finally need to charge it again.

Software/Downloading and lots of geeky antics:

Officially, this unit is completely non-downloadable.  Period.

But while I was doing the unboxing I noticed that the charging cable looked suspiciously like the Soleus GPS 2.0’s charging cable.  And in fact, very much also like the Soleus GPS 1.0’s cable.  The only difference is that on the 2.0’s cable, the cable has four prongs, whereas the 1.0 cable has two prongs.  Oh, and the Soleus 2.0 is downloadable, whereas the 1.0 is not.

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For fun, I decided to see what would happen if I took the Soleus 2.0’s four-prong cable and attached it to Timex Marathon GPS’s four-connectors (instead of the included 2-prong cable).

Bingo – it charges!

It turns out, the outer prongs on the Soleus 2.0’s charging cable are used to deliver power, whereas the inner prongs are used to deliver data.  Deciding to take this a step further, I went ahead and connected the watch to my computer, and cracked open the free downloadable Soleus software.

Now, as I’ve alluded to in the past – the Soleus desktop software is without question the worst piece of sports history/log software ever written in the history of the entire universe.  Ideally, it would be taken, put in a box, and given to James Cameron for his next trip to the bottom of the ocean at 35,576 feet.  At which point it should be left there, and eaten by whatever mysterious luminescent creatures exist there – ideally to ensure that the software never sees the light of day again.

But, in the meantime, we’ll actually make use of it.  I decided to press the magic download button on the Soleus software while connected to the Timex watch and see what happens.

Sure enough, magic happens!

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In fact, it happily downloads each and every one of my workouts.

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As noted, because the software is so hideous, it’s not terribly useful.  But it does have a simple export option – and within that option exists the ability to export out a TCX file that only MapMyRun and Golden Cheetah seems to be able to read (I’ve tried Garmin Connect, TrainingPeaks, Sport Tracks, and more – no love).  But, once you’ve uploaded it there, you’re good to go. (Note: It also exports a GPX file as well).

Here’s the final product after I manually uploaded it to MapMyRun:

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And here’s the same thing on Golden Cheetah (free cycling software):

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Of course, it remains to be seen whether Timex will offer a download cable for their unit.  At one point, Soleus had said it would offer a cable for a reasonable price – though, I suspect they won’t do that since it would undercut their $150 unit (Soleus 2.0).  Additionally, Timex introducing a cable would also undercut some of their other watches as well.  Though, with the Timex Global Trainer at $130 these days, we’re only talking $30 difference anyway.

Nonetheless, it does work – and works quite well.  Soleus will be in a bit of a tricky position in that at some point they’ll have to offer USB charging cables to their customers for replacement, and that cable easily download from both the Timex Marathon GPS as well as their $95 Soleus 1.0 unit (I tested that too).  Interesting times ahead.

Comparison Chart:

At this point, if it wasn’t becoming clear – the Soleus 1.0, Soleus 2.0 and Timex Marathon GPS units are all the same watches.  Exact same watches.

Well, technically, the Soleus 1.0 has different button positions than the 2.0 unit – but the software and firmware behind them is identical.  See, both companies went to a Chinese watch manufacture and sourced the same reference GPS unit.  Both companies had slightly different outer ‘clothing’ put on the units, but ultimately – they’re the same units.  It’s like customizing your car with a paint job.

If I were to hold up both units side by side and walk through the menu’s and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.  The Soleus software I noted has a number of places that show it’s generic software made by a 3rd party software company, likely out of Asia as well, designed to be rebranded as appropriate for various companies.  And while it was never marketed for the Timex watch – it’s awesome in that it works with it.

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This rebranding/OEM’ing of products is of course extremely common within the watch industry – but this is the first time it’s really as obvious as it is.

But, there is one critical difference that Timex made when they selected the outer shell.  Unlike Soleus, Timex selected a fully waterproof casing – up to 30 meters.

And it is for that reason alone, that I’d recommend the Time Marathon GPS over the Soleus 1.0 GPS.  If you’re comparing it against the 2.0 GPS – at present, there isn’t way to get the magical cable other than having a 2.0 unit, so it’s not really a fair comparison.

Nonetheless, here’s a quick comparison chart of the main sub-$200 GPS options in the market today:

Function/FeatureTimex Marathon GPSSoleus 1.0 GPSSoleus 2.0 GPSTimex Global TrainerGarmin Forerunner 60/70
Copyright www.DCRainmaker.com - Updated January 9th, 2014 @ 1:46 pmNew Window
General: Price$90.00$90.00$150.00$150.00$100.00
General: Product Announcement DateMar 18, 2012JAN 25, 2010JUL 24, 2009
General: Actual Availability/Shipping DateApr 2012JUN 23, 2010AUG 2009
General: GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYesYesYesNo
General: Data TransferNo, but yesUSBUSBUSBANT+ Wireless
General: Waterproofing30 MetersIPX7IPX750 MetersYes
General: Battery Life20 hours20 hours20 hours15 hoursDays.
General: Recording IntervalPresetPresetPreset2-SecondSmart
General: Satellite Pre-Loading via ComputerNoNoNoNoN/A
General: Quick Satellite ReceptionOkOkOkGreatN/A (No GPS)
General: AlertsSound/VisualSound/VisualSound/VisualSound/VisualSound/Visual
General: Backlight GreatnessOKOKOKGoodGood
General: Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceNoNoNoNoNo
General: Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)NoNoNoNoNo
Function/FeatureTimex Marathon GPSSoleus 1.0 GPSSoleus 2.0 GPSTimex Global TrainerGarmin Forerunner 60/70
Connectivity: Bluetooth Legacy (pre-4.0) to PhoneNoNoNoNoVia Wahoo Fitness Adapter
Connectivity: Bluetooth Smart (4.0+) to Phone UploadingNoNoNoNoVia Wahoo Fitness Adapter
Connectivity: Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)NoNoNoNoNo
Connectivity: Live Tracking (streaming location to website)NoNoNoNoNo
Connectivity: Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNoNoNoNo
Connectivity: Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)noNoNoNoNo
Cycling: Designed for cyclingBarelyBarelyBarelyYesYes
Cycling: Power Meter CapableNoNoNoYesNo
Cycling: Power Meter Configuration/Calibration OptionsN/AN/AN/ANoN/A
Cycling: Power Meter TSS/NP/IFN/AN/AN/ANoN/A
Cycling: Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableNoNoNoYesYes
Function/FeatureTimex Marathon GPSSoleus 1.0 GPSSoleus 2.0 GPSTimex Global TrainerGarmin Forerunner 60/70
Running: Designed for runningNoNoNoYesYes
Running: Footpod Capable (For treadmills)NoNoNoYesYes
Running: Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)NoNoNoNoNo
Running: VO2Max EstimationNoNoNoNoNo
Running: Race PredictorNoNoNoNoNo
Running: Recovery AdvisorNoNoNoNoNo
Running: Run/Walk ModeNoNoNoNoNo
Function/FeatureTimex Marathon GPSSoleus 1.0 GPSSoleus 2.0 GPSTimex Global TrainerGarmin Forerunner 60/70
Swimming: Designed for swimmingNoNoNoNoNo
Swimming: Record HR underwaterN/AN/AN/AN/ANo
Triathlon: Designed for triathlonNoNoNoYesNo
Triathlon: Multisport modeN/AN/AN/AYesN/A
Workouts: Create/Follow custom workoutsNoNoNoYesFR60 Only
Workouts: On-unit interval FeatureNoNoNoYesYes
Workouts: Training Calendar FunctionalityNoNoNoNoNo
Function/FeatureTimex Marathon GPSSoleus 1.0 GPSSoleus 2.0 GPSTimex Global TrainerGarmin Forerunner 60/70
Functions: Auto Start/StopNoNoNoYesYes
Functions: Virtual Partner FeatureNoNoNoYesYes
Functions: Virtual Racer FeatureNoNoNoNoNo
Functions: Records PR\\\'s - Personal Records (diff than history)NoNoNoNoNo
Functions: Day to day watch abilityYesYesYesYesYes
Functions: Hunting/Fishing/Ocean DataNoNoNoNoNo
Functions: Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoNoNoNo
Functions: Jumpmaster mode (Parachuting)NoNonoNoNo
Functions: GeocachingNoNoNoNoNo
Functions: Weather Display (live data)NoNoNoNoNo
Function/FeatureTimex Marathon GPSSoleus 1.0 GPSSoleus 2.0 GPSTimex Global TrainerGarmin Forerunner 60/70
Navigate: Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)NoNoNoYes (Barely)Yes
Navigate: Markers/Waypoint DirectionNoNoNoYesNo
Navigate: Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoNoNoNoNo
Navigate: Back to startNoNoNoYesN/A
Navigate: Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoNoNoNoN/A
Navigate: Download courses/routes from phone to unitNoNoNoNoNo
Sensors: Altimeter TypeNoneNoneNoneGPSNo
Sensors: Compass TypeNoneNoneNoneGPSN/A
Sensors: Heart Rate Strap CompatibleNoNoNoYesYes
Sensors: ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableNoNoNoYesYes
Sensors: ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableNoNoNoYesYes
Sensors: ANT+ Footpod CapableNoNoNoYesYes
Sensors: ANT+ Power Meter CapableNoNoNoYesNo
Sensors: ANT+ Weight Scale CapableNoNoNoNoYes
Sensors: ANT+ Fitness Equipment (Gym)NoNoNoNoYes
Sensors: ANT+ Remote ControlNoNoNoNoNo
Sensors: ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNoNoNoNo
Sensors: Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableNoNoNoNoNo
Sensors: Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableNoNoNoNoNo
Sensors: Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableNoNoNoNoNo
Sensors: Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableNoNoNoNoNo
Sensors: Temp Recording (internal sensor)NoNoNoNoNo
Sensors: Temp Recording (external sensor)NoNoNoNoNo
Sensors: Compatible with Firstbeat HR toolsNoNoNoNoNo
Function/FeatureTimex Marathon GPSSoleus 1.0 GPSSoleus 2.0 GPSTimex Global TrainerGarmin Forerunner 60/70
Software: PC ApplicationN/AN/ASoleus AppTraining Peaks AgentGTC/ANT Agent
Software: Web ApplicationN/AN/ANoTraining PeaksGarmin Connect
Software: Phone AppNoNoNoTraining PeaksGarmin Fit
Software: Ability to Export SettingsNoNoYesYesNo
Purchase: Amazon LinkLinkLinkLinkLinkLink
Purchase: Clever Training Link (Save 10% with DCR10AKG)LinkN/AN/ALink
DCRainmaker: Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLinkLink

Summary:

This watches target audience is those who don’t want to spend a ton of cash, but still want a dedicated non-phone device for tracking their runs or bikes.  Within that category, it’s a great little watch.  It keeps track of pace, distance and time easily.

As noted above, in many ways – it is indeed the exact same watch as the identically priced Soleus 1.0 watch.  Except, one key key difference: It’s fully waterproofed.  Having killed a number of watches over the years, many of you know that I’m constantly badgering GPS companies to spend the couple extra dollars and put a full waterproofing case on these expensive units.  I’m happy to see Timex do that.  And for that reason alone, I’d recommend it over the Soleus.  Beyond that though, they’re the same watch.

I’m really interested in seeing where this category goes over the remainder of the year.  I’ve gotta believe that both Garmin and Polar are looking at the sub-$100 GPS market and seeing how they can get into it.  I suspect Timex is also looking at the success of this watch to see how they could do basic data integration, like the Soleus 2.0 watch – especially since it’s just a matter of offering a cable for sale. Though, since they sublet data display to TrainingPeaks for their GPS units, they’d likely have to work out an arrangement there.

From an accuracy standpoint, I found the unit spot on with both a FR910XT and a Suunto Ambit unit, in my testing – all within .02-.03 miles over the course of runs up to 7 miles.

Finally, the watch costs $99, and is available in two flavors:

Timex Marathon GPS: The blue flavor: $99
Timex Marathon GPS: The pink flavor: $79
Timex Marathon GPS: The black flavor: $99

Also, as noted above in the cycling section – if you intend to stick it on a bike, just pickup the $7 bike mount and your life will be much easier.  That’s it, thanks for reading!

Found this review useful? Here’s the super easy no-pain way you can help support future reviews! Read on…

Hopefully you found this review useful. At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device. The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love). As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.

If you use Clever Training (at left) to pickup the Timex Marathon GPS you’ll save 10% off your cart, and you’ll get free shipping if in the US – just use coupon code DCR10AKG.  Most of all though, you’ll support the site in a big way.

As you’ve seen throughout the review there is only really one accessory available for the unit – a handlebar mount. I’ve consolidated the few different companies that make it into the below chart, with additional information (full posts) available on some of the accessories to the far right. Also, everything here is verified by me – so if it’s on the list, you’ll know it’ll work. And as you can see, I mix and match accessories based on compatibility – so if a compatible accessory is available at a lower price below, you can grab that instead.

AccessoryManufacturer Street Price Amazon Link Clever Training Link (Save 10% with DCR10AKG) More Info
Copyright www.DCRainmaker.com - Updated March 7th, 2014 @ 8:07 pm
Garmin Bike Mount Kit (for mounting any watch onto handlebars)Garmin$10.00LinkLinkN/A
Suunto Bike Mount Kit (for mounting any watch onto handlebars)Suunto$10.00LinkLinkN/A
Timex Bike Mount Kit (for mounting any watch onto handlebars)Timex$9.00LinkN/AN/A

Thanks for reading! And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible. Further, you can always e-mail me at the address on the sidebar. And lastly, if you felt this review was useful – I always appreciate feedback in the comments below. Thanks!

Finally, I’ve written up a ton of helpful guides around using most of the major fitness devices, which you may find useful. These guides are all listed on this page here.

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175 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    So can you buy the Soleus 2.0 charger/data cable separately for less than $49 I guess is the question!?

    Reply
  2. Mrfish

    Surely the bizarre 0.4km autolap option = 400m = a standard running track?

    So moderately useful after all?

    Reply
  3. Jen

    I really like the square form factor. Much prettier than the Soleus…especially in the nice blue color :-).

    Reply
  4. Thanks Ray! I’ve been using your guides as they come out to decide between the “value” GPS units, and when I finally decide to buy, I’ll definitely be using your links!

    Reply
  5. Anonymous said…
    So can you buy the Soleus 2.0 charger/data cable separately for less than $49 I guess is the question!?

    That was my thought exactly. Make the replacement charger unit cost more than the difference between the two.

    Reply
  6. If it had heart rate monitoring capability, it would be perfect and I would buy it. Hopefully they introduce it.

    Reply
  7. I guess the real question is “Why does Timex not release it with the download cable?” The new cable is not going to cost anymore to make for Timex. Hire a software designer and get a useable version of something online at release. I doesn’t need to be perfect, just useable and improved upon with new versions. It seems it would destroy the entry level GPS market esp if the software was garmin connect easy to use.

    Reply
  8. Nathan

    I’m curious…the pins on the back seem to be very similar to those on the back of the Timex Run Trainer.
    Do you think it would be possible for someone to use the TRT charger instead of a Soleus charger? Granted, you might have to do a little breaking of the TRT cable to get the plastic prongs off, but it might work

    Reply
  9. Ray,

    If it’s waterproof, can you use it for open water swims?

    Reply
  10. Anonymous

    Ray I’ll be coaching in Galveston this weekend. Hope to see you there. But what really prompted me to comment is the horrendous job somebody did wrapping your bars. You should ask for a refund. It should take 1, possibly 2 widths of electrical tape to finish the job. Your cabling disaster has bugged me in the past, but this is just too much. Please, please, for the sake of your photos, find a mechanic with some pride in his work!

    Reply
  11. Bo

    Looks nice.

    Now, who wants to trade? My Finis Swimsense for your Timex Marathon.

    Reply
  12. Anonymous

    Please advise: Does the Timex Marathon GPS give you “instantaneous pace” at any given moment? I’m not looking for lap pace or average pace over the last mile, etc., but, can it give me my pace at any given moment? Thanks.

    Reply
  13. Hi Anon/Chris-
    RE: Data cable seperately

    Not at this time, that’s the trick – Soleus hasn’t offered it yet in any capacity.

    MrFish-
    RE: 400m option

    Well played, good call.

    Hi Nathaniel-
    RE: Custom cable

    I agree, and further, I think that honestly if they just outsource to TrainingPeaks the software side (since it’s simply a USB device with files located on them), it would be fairly straight forward. Support is the bigger issue/cost.

    Hi Nathan-
    RE: Modifying Timex Run Trainer cable

    Funny, I stated playing with that tonight. The pins aren’t perfectly aligned, but might work. The bigger issue is removing the little plastic pieces. I’ll sacrifice one of the cables here in a bit.

    I’ve also been looking at the cable that came with the Timex Marathon GPS and seeing if I remove the plastic if I can just add two pins. I suspect the units just have different platic covers.

    Hi Adam-
    RE: Openwater swims

    Typically, the watch won’t get good coverage under the water. But, I’m going to try it out this weekend – and will report back. It will likely work great in a swim cap though.

    Anon-
    RE: Bartape

    Yeah, that’s what ya get when you buy a bike at Performance (years ago, I recongnize the error of my ways now). Oddly enough, I bought a bunch of bar tape a few months ago intending to redo it all. But then I ended up using a bunch of that for the custom bike computer stand thing I made – so gotta see if I still have enough. Fear not, it drives me nuts too. Honestly, I’d love to get it repainted as well….

    Hi Bo-
    RE: Trade

    If I didn’t already have a flotilla of Swimsense units….

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Instant pace

    Yes, you get a instant pace value while running, it’s smoothed about 3-4 seconds worth, but it’s ‘instant’.

    Thanks all!

    Reply
  14. Update on the cable ideas:

    1) Timex Run Trainer cable usage

    I tried sawing off the plastic connectors (surprisingly quick) – but, even with verification of alignment of the metal connectors to prongs – no power was delivered, nor data downloaded.

    2) Timex Marathon GPS cable modification

    After opening up the cable, the USB cord itself is wired for four wires, but the 2 additional wires are snipped at the moment it enters the charging clip housing. You can see on the circuit board where they would be connected to, and then the circuitry to where the charging clip pins would be. Not an easy modification at the moment.

    Reply
  15. Noticed a typo at the end:
    “just pickup the $7 bike mount and you’re life will be much easier.”

    Reply
  16. Anonymous

    Thanks Ray,

    Can you confirm the watch is really waterproof to 30 meter and not using the deceptive Water Resistant Standard that some manufactures still use. In that case 30M means that the watch will resist splashes and rain.
    link to en.wikipedia.org

    Thanks

    Reply
  17. Great catch! The Timex is, IMO, the more visually attractive of the two as well.

    My biggest issue with the firmware is that they suffer from an inability to allow blanks to exist. Both watches seem to feel that the most significant piece of information to place at the top of the watch screen is… your timezone. Which is remarkably confusing to some people (I’ve actually looked at this as a gift for non-technical folk who would be baffled by some of the Garmin options – ended up going with the FR60 instead).

    Reply
  18. Sarah M.

    Is there an affordable Ant watch that will display data from iPhone using Wahoo Ant? I don’t mind running with iphone in waist belt but I don’t want to fish it out to check pace, HR, etc.. Arm bands don’t work for me either.

    I have an old-school Garmin Forerunner 201 that I could use for pace/distance but would not have access to HR data.

    Suggestions?

    Reply
  19. Sarah M.

    p.s. I like having the phone with me for mapping, camera, emergencies, etc…

    Thanks for all your work!

    Reply
  20. Hi Anon-
    RE: Waterproofing

    Waterproofing is a tricky business. As the link you said noted, the only true legit standards are the IPX rating ones. Everything else is very loose. There tends to be a lot of deception, but I’ve historically found Timex to be fairly accurate in this area. Within the dive community, many like to make reference to the idea that ’30′m isn’t applicable to even submerssion. But the reality is – that’s what’s implied. If the unit doesn’t live up to that, then I’ll happily return it and warranty it. In most of the watches that are rated for 30m within the fitness watch category, I’ve actually taken diving – to slightly shallower than 30m (usually about 70-80ft) – and all have come back without issue.

    That doesn’t mean you won’t get an errant unit (heck, I just flooded my FR910XT this weekend while swimming – a unit designed for swimming). But generally speaking, one has to believe the markings on the unit. At least from reputable companies.

    Hi Sarah-

    Unfortunately, there aren’t any ANT+ watches that can pull data from the phone (Wahoo or otherwise). The closest you’ll get is the FR60/FR70, which is usually just sub-$100 – but that’s non-GPS. It does work great though, and has far more features than any of the units discussed here.

    Hope this helps!

    Reply
  21. Hi Ray,
    any chance you can post pictures of this watch on your rolling pin along side the Timex Run Trainer. I have found the TRT a bit big for a day to day watch. This one has potential

    thanks,
    Gary

    Reply
  22. Anonymous

    Thank you so much for your reviews. They have helped me buy several GPS watches. You are the man!!

    Reply
  23. Anonymous

    You dont include the nike tomtom in sub-200$ gps watches?

    Reply
  24. Hi Anon-

    Oddly enough, I’m not sure why that got filtered out, since in my draft table it was included. No worries, I re-exported it and pasted it up there now.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  25. Thanks for such a thorough review. I just bought this watch then suffered from some buyer’s remorse and wanted to check out reviews before I committed. Very helpful!

    Reply
  26. Anonymous

    I’ve used this watch for 5 runs now between 5 and 10 miles and found that it does not accurately calculate average pace for the whole run. It’s been off from anywhere between 4″ and 9″ per mile. Has anyone else noticed this?

    Also, there is a full owners manual available at the TIMEX website that has much more detail than the Quickguide. It cautions against swimming with the watch due to concerns that it “can cause electrical shorting which may cause skin irritation and minor burns.”

    Reply
  27. Kathy

    Thanks for the very thorough review! It helped me make my decision to purchase this watch about a week and a half ago. I’m very pleased with it overall, but am confused about how it calculates the Average Pace. So far all of my runs are showing an Avg Pace anywhere from 5 to 15 seconds slower than they really are (using the reported Chrono and Dist). In fact, looking at your first photo, your Average Pace is off by about 10 seconds/mile.

    For what it’s worth, I called Timex and spoke to a rep today. I gave him the exact numbers from my watch, and he agreed that the Average Pace is not calculated correctly, so there must be something wrong with my particular watch. He told me I could either take my watch back to the store for an exchange, or mail it back to them for a new one. Based on what I am seeing here (in your review and some of the comments), it sounds like all the watches are doing the same thing and it would be pointless to exchange the watch.

    I still really like the watch and find it useful overall, but will just have to continue to do my own Average Pace calculations when I update my spreadsheet with my run data.

    But out of curiousity, does anyone know how the Avg Pace is calculated on the watch?

    Reply
  28. On the average pace, I’m 99% certain in my cases that it’s miscalculating the avg pace based on total time between start and end, but not excluding stops. I saw the same thing with the Soleus 1.0/2.0 as well (same watch). In your case, did you stop by chance mid-run?

    Reply
  29. Kathy

    In my several runs with the watch I never stopped even for a short time, so this wouldn’t explain my results. I’m guessing that the Avg Pace computation is based on some internal data that isn’t displayed anywhere, but it’s still wrong. I was just hoping Timex could tell me what that calculation is, so I could find a workaround.

    Reply
  30. Anonymous

    I am interested in this watch because of the price range but I would like to have my current/instant pace and from what I’ve researched online, I’m seeing mixed reviews. I was hoping you could clear this up for me. I read your full review of this watch and you said it has a smoothing factor of 3-4 seconds; is this a similar type of current/instant pace I could see with something like the Timex Run Trainer and/or Global Trainer? I’m also interested in the TGT (because as you mentioned it’s only $25 more) but as a runner I really want the TRT. Also, does this watch display 3 fields at once or do they go one-by-one on the display?

    Honestly, once I found your reviews on these GPS watches I read them all top to bottom and I can say WOW what a great job and they are much appreciated! Thanks!

    Reply
  31. It’s pretty similiar to the TGT/TRT. Those have about a 4-6 second smoothing factor, but honestly anything within 3-4 seconds or more is good. It reduces the 1-second oddities that folks often see. Most in the industry have gone to between 3-7 seconds for smoothing.

    As for the screens, all of the screens you see above are as-is. So it can do three data fields at once, but you can’t customize them more than what you see above.

    As for the difference between the TRT and TGT, they’re pretty much the same from the running perspective – it’s just sizing differences really.

    Hope this helps!

    Reply
  32. Anonymous

    I recently bought the Timex marathon because I was tired of my Garmin failing me at the start line of races. After two days I am ready to return it. I had problems getting the time set, but more seriously I can’t get it to stop, save and re-set in Run mode. When i go to Run it starts timing automatically before i even get to hit the Start button. Very frustrating and disappointing.

    David.Ingram@asu.edu

    Reply
  33. Anonymous

    Bought this watch on Saturday, ran a 5k race on sunday. The average pace reported 6.40 but my actual was 6.28. I noticed from the Lap info that it recorded a Lap pace wrong on the last 0.1 mile.

    Reply
  34. hey Ray,
    thanks for the great article. I ordered mine after reading your review because I needed a GPS that was waterproof. (no way I’m stopping in T1 to put on a watch!)

    I cannot delete my data? The user guide says go into Run Data and delete, when I go into Run Data there is nothing there to delete. It’s not even an option, however every run starts off where I finished the last run. Like the chrono, dist, pace never start at 0.
    Anyone else have this issue, or is it something simple that I am not seeing?
    thx!

    Reply
  35. Hi Jules-

    It sounds like you need to save the file (which you’ll want to do after you finish each run). Just hold the bottom right button down and it’ll start a quick countdown and save ‘File Saved’ with a number. Then, you’ll also see it in history. Otherwise, it’s sorta like one giant-pause.

    Hope this helps! Have a good weekend!

    Reply
  36. It worked! Ray, u r a genius!

    Thanks for the the help, & all the reviews! keep up the awesome work!!

    Jules

    Reply
  37. Hello,
    Great review! I wish I would have read it before my impulse by at the Pittsburgh Marathon Expo. I was highly depressed and disappointed at the fact that you couldn’t download your data. Any luck with the cable modification? Or would you like to sell me one of your Soleus 2.0 cables???? hahah

    Reply
  38. Excellent post as usual on this blog!
    So I bought the Marathon GPS watch and took it for a run this morning. As one of the other posters commented, the Average Pace is off.
    I went 7.31 miles in 56:17 so the Pace should be 7:42/mile. The watch showed 7:47/mile. A second here or there I’d chalk up to rounding, but 5secs seems definitely wrong. I called Timex and they said to send it in and that they have heard no other complaints. Now I’m trying to decide whether I can live with it since I use a log that calculates it correctly or to return and get something else.

    Reply
  39. I finally returned the watch and picked up the Run Trainer with HRM instead. I just couldn’t get over the fact that a simple calculation such as Avg Pace was so far off. We’ll see how the Run Trainer goes!

    Reply
  40. Hi! Did you ever try using the Timex Run Trainers cable to download data to trainingpeaks? Did it work? Thanks.

    Reply
  41. Anonymous

    Great article! I found it trying to figure out why my 2 interval run turned into 4 intervals on the watch (damn auto-lap :) ).

    As for the average pace, I’ve only used the watch for 4 runs so far, but it appears that it’s maximum error is about 4.5 seconds/mile since it seems that it only uses 9 seconds/mile increments. I see 9:13, 9:22, and 9:31 consistently, but have yet to see any other paces in that range.

    Reply
    • Evan replied

      DC Rainmaker: can you confirm the comment about this Timex watch only recording miles in 9-second intervals? If that’s false, then I’m very tempted to buy one. If it’s true, then I will continue shopping for a better GPS watch. Also, if it’s true, then do you know if the Soleus and/or New Balance entry-level GPS watches share the same issue (given that they use the same GPS module)…?

      Giving up on my Nike Sportband watch. It’s just not precise enough without a GPS feature and it’s becoming problematic to connect to my PC.

      Thank you.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I’m travelling and I don’t have one with me at the moment. All those units would be the same though, as it’s just re-branded.

      Reply
  42. Jonathan Allen

    Excellent review, exactly what needed. I intent to purchase this watch and would do from the retailer you recommend, but… I am in Europe (Greece). Thanks.

    Reply
  43. Martin

    I must be missing something here. I thought the pace time was your current pace at the moment not your average pace. So to divide the total time by the distance does not represent the pace time displayed. Or is the pace time the average over the total distance and not just your pace at the moment? Who would want the average pace over the whole distance? I would think most if not everyone want to know what my pace is now? Should I pick up the pace? Confused.

    Reply
  44. Anonymous

    Very very helpful! Thank you!

    Reply
  45. Hi DC,

    I was wondering if you could change the order in which the time, distance, and pace appears on the face of this watch. Also, is there a way to adjust the brightness or contrast? Thank you for all your hard work and dedication.

    Reply
  46. So which one do you think is better the TRT or this one?

    Reply
  47. The Timex Run Trainer is definitely a better watch – no doubt about it. More full featured, both on the device, and the fact that you can download it. Sorta like comparing a Zipcar to a fully loaded Tour bus.

    Reply
  48. In your opinion…

    I’m considering the Soleus GPS 1.0 and the Timex Marathon GPS. They are basically the same price and similar features. I know you have reviewed both, which one would do you think I would purchase. I am primarily a trail runner but I run street from time to time.

    Reply
  49. Anonymous

    NBS – Tried the charging cable mod and it didn’t work. Adding the pins was easy. Just drilled through the pad on the pc board and through the plastic case. I inserted small diameter lengths of brass tubing for the pins, soldered them in place and filed them flush with the original pins. Tested continuity from the usb pins all the way through the watch connector pins. All continuous, no shorts or opens. Windows 7 didn’t recognize the device and Soleus software wouldn’t either. Tried both center wires, white and green, in both positions. Retested continuity and still didn’t work. Not looking for advice. Just passing on that it didn’t work after reasonably competent attempts. Not sure if the watch Timex is not connecting the data in the watch or not. I took the back off the watch and didn’t want to go any further by taking out the movement. FWIW

    Reply
  50. Aquiles

    I tried to mod my cable too. Windows can not recognize the gps watch. From what I noticed when I opened the USB charging cable, there was only a simple PCB board. I think what Timex did was they didn’t include the USB controller that’s why windows doesn’t recognize the gps watch when it’s connected. As for the Soleus 2.0 charging cable, I believe it has a usb controller chip inside that’s why it’s a lot bigger than the timex cable. Lol, I guess Timex wasn’t that kind of dumb, they probably thought about this when they removed the USB controller so that people can’t mod it. Would be nice if DC Rainmaker can open his Soleus 2.0 charging cable and see if there’s a usb chip controller inside. If there is, then that’s our problem there.

    Reply
  51. Andrew

    Great review and I’m convinced.

    Reply
  52. Anonymous

    You can purchase a Soleus 2.0 charging/data cable ($29) direct from Soleus Customer Service at (866)756.5641. I called them, gave them my credit card over the phone and received my cable 3 business days later.

    Cheers,
    DK

    Reply
  53. Anonymous

    Oh, also, since the Soleus software is such junk, you should take a look at Strava. They don’t accept Timex files organically but there is a user that has built a well respected work around. His site is link to pwx.raytracer.dk this should help you use this very functional watch and some decent workout/social software.

    Cheers,
    DK

    Reply
  54. Aquiles

    As for my last comment follow up. Doing the Cable mod will not do anything for this Timex GPS watch. The problem lies itself in the cable because there’s no USB controller in the cable itself. As what the other user indicated. Just order a new Soleous 2.0 cable for 29 and it will solve your problem.

    Reply
  55. since this is fully waterproof, would it be ok to press any of the buttons under the rain? my Soleus’ mode button corroded inside because water got into it even if i was very very careful not to press any of the buttons while it’s wet.

    Reply
  56. Anonymous

    I have an old Garmin w/ GPS that loses track of the distance under trees, etc. Does the timex avoid this?

    Reply
  57. Hi OldSAP-

    I haven’t had any issues with it. It’s a slightly different outside casing, so that may help. I just can’t say for certain whether I’ve been lucky or not.

    Hi Anon-

    No issues there here, it seems to have a pretty good chip in it. I’ve run multiple times under trees without issues.

    Enjoy!

    Reply
  58. thanks for the input Ray

    Reply
  59. Anonymous

    How do we delete saved files? .. Quick Start Guide doesn’t address this .. For developers reading this .. How about an option to delete vs. save workouts .. or at least make deleting workouts “easy” ? .. I have a Soleus 1.0 with the same issue, although, I can at least clear run files)

    Reply
  60. Anonymous

    Found the Delete Files procedure in the on-line manual link to assets.timex.com

    (handy, not) ..

    Reply
  61. Anonymous

    Great reviews.
    Question: How do you export a file from the Soleus software?
    Thanks!

    Reply
  62. Anonymous

    Go to the MapMyRun tab when the software is opn and it will export the data to a TCX file. Then upload it at Map My Run (website).

    Reply
  63. Vincent

    Hi Rainmaker, i like your blog and thanks for so much contribution and review.

    RE: Openwater swims. Is that work well if put inside cap? How about compare to soleus gps 1.0?

    I’m looking for GPS watch with about budget around $100 use for running and swimming.

    Reply
  64. Johnny

    A lot of the reviews on Amazon aren’t saying it’s instantaneous pace. Instead, it’s smoothed over the last MINUTE or so. So it’s more like an average current pace.

    Reply
  65. Glenn

    I did not see how to erase workouts. Can you help with this? My watch is full and today seemed to not want to even start timing after syncing the GPS.

    Reply
  66. To delete a given workout:

    1) MODE until Run Data
    2) Press + or – to select a given workout, then VIEW
    3) Press View until VIEW/DEL/ALL displays
    4) Press + or – to select DEL, tehn OK.

    To delete all workouts:

    To the same as above, except select ‘ALL’ instead.

    Enjoy!

    Reply
  67. Anonymous

    Hi all,
    I have just got my Soleus 2.0 cable, but my PC is still not recognizing the watch even though the watch is charging with the cable.
    Is there any additional thing that I might missed out ?

    Reply
  68. Hank Barta

    Many thanks for the review. We bought one of these on impulse before running our first marathon. (Had we seen your review we might have chosen something else.) Nevertheless, I’m making the best of it. One of the main things I wanted was more or less instantaneous pace to help us (wife and I) pace our runs. It seems to do that OK. It also seems to have difficulties with the lap and/or average pace that gets stored during the run. I recall one training run of five miles where the average pace was outside the min/max of all recorded lap pace readings which seems mathematically impossible. Clearly there are arithmetic problem with the firmware. I’m also disappointed by the time it takes to acquire lock. Today I ran about a quarter mile before it locked (nearly 3 minutes) under a clear sky and with scattered trees. We record our runs using Android apps (which is a whole ‘nother subject!)

    I’m amused that another poster noted that Timex said they had not heard any other reports of that problem. That seems to be a common refrain when a manufacturer is asked about a problem that is commonly experienced by users.

    Reply
    • Ronell replied

      I guess all of the Timex Marathon GPS watches cannot calculate the average pace correctly. Got mine as a gift in October and after a dozen runs, every one had the average pace wrong. The error varied from 3 to 9 seconds. Called Timex and they said to reset everything by pressing all six buttons at the same time. Did that twice and still the ave. pace was wrong.

      I sent it to their repair center per their instructions, for either repair or replacement. They sent the same watch back. I guess they at least looked at it because everything had to be reset, such as local time, miles vs. kilometer, etc. Still does not calculate the average pace correctly. Guess I’ll live with it but it sure makes me wonder if the actual pace while running is also off.

      There is about a 15 to 30 second delay in displaying the actual pace, if indeed it is actual. I still need to recheck the measured distance as it seemed to be about 0.04 of a mile short of an actual mile before returning it to the repair center.

      Reply
  69. Andrew

    I just wanted to mention that Timex clearly states that it works best if you stand still while it acquires a signal. I recieved mine as a present yesterday and haven’t had any of the problems anyone else has had… Yet, that is. it’s accuracy suprised me because of its price. I compared it to my friends garmin and it outperfomed it in almost every aspect. Thank you for the review it went a long way in my acquisition of this watch.

    Reply
  70. martin

    Im still new in running. I wanna ask bout this watch. What does it mean “data transfer : No,but yes”??? So we cant upload our workout to the web like nike+ sportwatch did or what?
    Sorry for this lame question.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      It means, ‘No, you can’t do it, but if you buy the cable separately, you can do it via unsupported means’. You can see above how I do it via unsupported means from a 3rd party company.

      But correct, you can’t upload like the Nike+ Sportwatch. Kinda a bummer.

      Reply
  71. Andrew

    My watch has still been fairly accurate even with the average pace. The only problem I seem to be having is that the pace during my runs seems to almost freeze at times.

    Reply
  72. nicholas

    As I said to another comment of mine, I would love to see a comparison of these budget watches with the navrun 500 and 2k gps watches.
    Keep up the good work

    Reply
  73. Marc

    Rainmaker,

    After reading your In-depth review, I bought the Timex Marathon and so far so good. It has exceeded my expectation for that price. I am running 10K and 1/2 Marathon and will put the watch to test soon.
    Thank you for your great job!

    Reply
  74. Joel Sanders

    Hello. I stumbled across your site by accident. I appreciate your analysis on the watch. A couple of questions… Where can I get the Soleus 2.0’s four-prong cable? I cannot find it anywhere. Second, you wrote about how there’s a possibilty for bluetooth. What would the bluetooth do? I would really like to save these workouts, but without the charging cord, it’s not possible. Thanks for your time.
    Joel

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I believe that Soleus will be offering the cable here shortly for $20-30, last e-mail I got said next month.

      Reply
  75. Jen

    This was so informative! I recently bought the Timex watch and was wanting to know more about it. For what I need it for I feel I made the right choice! So interesting about the “hidden” capabilities of the watch and also what might come down the line! Thanks!

    Reply
  76. Rebecca Hess

    How do you delete the files you saved? I filled it up with 30 files; now it won’t run anymore because “file full.” I went to the mode button, got run data, but all I can get it to do it tell me about the last 30 runs I went on. *who cares.* I want to go on a new one.

    Reply
  77. fj

    Does the FR110/210 charger/data cable work as well? We can find it easily.

    Reply
  78. runner

    Thanks for your review- really helpful! A few quick questions: first, does the Timex Marathon record the maximum speed during your activity? Second, how instantaneously is this speed recorded? Say a sprinter wanted to record their max speed for the 100m dash, or even max speed for the 40m dash, can this watch do it well?

    Reply
  79. Claudio

    I bought the Soleus connecting cable but still get the message: “no USB device found” when I want to connect with the Soleus Software. I tried to update the driver but without success.
    I’m using Windows 7 through Parallels on a Mac Book Pro.

    Any help is very much appreciated!!

    BTW: Thanks for this really awesome review!!

    Reply
  80. E27

    Great review and tips!

    Soleus informs that software for mac / apple should be in place in a month or so for use with their GPS watches.

    For Timex a new updated Run Trainer 2.0 should be out next month but the cost is $275. The shape and size of the RT2 seem closer to the Marathon so maybe the charger / data cable for that watch may work.

    Timex very likely has the capability to include for data and HRM like the current Soleus 3.0 at a $200 price point but that would take sales from the new RT2.

    Reply
  81. davidzoli

    With Soleus 2.0’s four-prong cable You can transfer data ;)
    It works! Confirmed.

    When you connect the cable first time, without the watch, the windows (mod7) tart identifying process and installing some USB device. So don’t try modding the two-prong cable.

    Reply
  82. CBear

    Hey DCR,
    Great review. I purchased the unit it the THIRD color, pink. I was given a $100 REI gift certificate, and purchased the unit based on your recommendation. Can’t wait to try it! Thanks!!

    Reply
  83. Jacco

    Hi DCR,

    Thanks for giving me a smile during reading the review!

    Reply
  84. Emmanuel

    hello,
    A Emmanuel from london, i lost my usb cable for my gps watch T5k661. and i dont know where and how to get a new one, please any help?

    Reply
  85. Mike Mitchell

    Hello, thanks for the awesome reviews on all the gps watches. I’m adding my comment to absolutely confirm that the average pace reported at the end of the run is wrong. Many reviews over on amazon note this, and at least one review theorized it was being displayed in decimal format rather than minutes/seconds format. I went on two runs with mine with no stops. The first run was 3.00 miles (no stops) in 25 minutes, 45 seconds. Average pace should be 8 minutes, 34 seconds per mile. The Timex report 8’41″. Whether you interpret this as mins/second or decimal, it’s wrong. My second run was 5.00 miles (no stops) in 43 minutes, 8 seconds for an average pace of 8 minutes, 37 seconds per mile. The Timex reported 8’49″. Again, whether you interpret that as mins/seconds or decimal, it’s still wrong.

    This is a real bummer to me because I liked everything else about the unit, and if you look at the individual split times when the split distance is set to 1.0 miles, those times are spot on correct. It’s just the final calculation that’s wrong. But, that is the thing I care about the most, so this one’s going back :-(

    Reply
  86. Brandon

    One question: I’m looking to semi-replace my Forerunner 205 for my day-to-day runs. I find it too big for my long runs (when all I care about is distance), but would like more features than my normal timex ironman watch.

    One thing that has me concerned is what happens when you use the “lap” function with the GPS for a fartlek interval workout? Example: I want to do intervals on the track but have it record my entire distance of the run. Obviously, I want to see my lap time on the screen, pace, and distance. Can it do that? Or is it just overall time?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      It shows lap time when you do that. Btw, if you already have a FR205, check out the FR10 – it’s at $129, but it offers the same download capabilities as the FR205 does – which means you can keep using the same training log. Fwiw..

      Reply
  87. Oriol

    Hi!
    I’ve just get the timex marathon gps and the soleus usb cable charger. I have to tell that it works and I can download my activities. BUT, once my activities are in the soleus software and I download them to “GPX” or “TCX” format there is NO way to transfer to another websites like: my maprun, Strava or trainning peaks as you said. All the programs sai that there is a problem and no possible to charge the “gpx or tcx” file. (srtava, endomondo, gramin connect, runastic…. no any one…)
    Somebody with the same problem plesae? Any solution for that?
    Conclusion: you can download the data to soleus software, but this softaware is primitive and I hate it… and it’s impossible to transfere it to another site or share it with your friends by e-mail or facebook
    I’m disappointed :(

    Reply
  88. robert

    I just got my Timex GPS Marathon but I can’t get it to charge, it doesn’t turn on. What should I do?

    Reply
  89. Felix Alicea

    Hi DC Rainmaker:

    Are you planning to review the new running watch made by Timex? Its the Timex Ironman Run Trainer 2.0 GPS Speed and Distance watch.

    All the best,
    Felix

    Reply
  90. admiN43G

    Hi Rainmaker,

    “RE: Openwater swims

    Typically, the watch won’t get good coverage under the water. But, I’m going to try it out this weekend – and will report back. It will likely work great in a swim cap though.”
    What is the result of the test in the open water? These hours can swim in the pool?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      No problems with swimcap method, but no-go with on wrist. The watch is fine for pool/openwater workouts on wrist, from just a timing standpoint (no GPS/distance).

      Reply
  91. Sheila Harris

    Love my Timex and thanks for the info about using the Soleus charging cable to download run data. I ordered a cable for $29 and just went through the software download with no issues. Already in business and can now export to map my run. Thanks!

    Reply
  92. Zip

    Great review, Rainmaker.
    Thanks for the thorough overview of the watch. It definitely helped with my decision.

    Cheer mate!

    Reply
  93. Norm

    If you were travelling in a town you don’t know well, would you be able to mark your hotel when you go out, and use the GPS to find your way back? Would any of the watches you have checked be able to do this?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      No, nothing like that on this unit unfortunately. Most of that stuff starts with the $200 unit’s – such as the Polar RC3 has it.

      Reply
  94. Claudia

    Great review! Can you please advise which model this one is? I am looking to purchase the T5K638L3. The lettering around the face is only slightly different in the one you reviewed and the model I’m looking at but otherwise everything else looks the same. The one I’m looking to purchase on the Timex website may just be a newer model?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      It’s the same one, just different face plate. Mine was the very first batch and they slightly modified the text lettering to move it to the outer edge to make it more clear. Same-same though.

      Reply
  95. Claudia

    Thank you!

    Reply
  96. Dave

    I run on trails where their are lots of trees, shading. Will the GPS still pick up a signal?

    Reply
  97. Marie

    Hi Rainmaker,
    First, thank you for the review, you go step by step which I like because I am new to the GPS watch world.
    Here is my question: I belong to a running club and we run for 10 min and walk for 1 min. Can you set the watch to get an alarm at every 10 min lap and 1 min lap for the whole run?
    Thanks for your reply.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Hi Marie-

      No, the Timex Marathon GPS doesn’t have that functionality. The Garmin FR10 does have that (walk/run function).

      Hope this helps!

      Reply
  98. Lunker

    The link to clever training doesn’t have the watch just FYI – would like to purchase via your site to support ya

    Thanjs

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Eek. Thanks for the heads up! Links fixed! Appreciate the support!

      Reply
  99. Michael McDowell

    I just purchased my TIMEX GPS about a month ago. Just took it swimming out at the beach and now it has completely non-functioning and blank on the face. It clearly has moisture inside of it and is being stored in a tupperware bowl of dry rice trying to dry it out. Question…how satisfied have people been with TIMEX in returning their product? I am getting ready to ship it off possibly in the morning. I am currently in Okinawa, Japan on orders here. Thanks.

    Reply
  100. Dave Smith

    Great review! Just purchased the watch based on your review. Very detailed and informative review!

    Thanks!

    Reply
  101. Alex

    I just wanted you to know that I purchased this watch – its currently on sale at leftlanesports ($69). Then I went to the Soleus web site and purchased a data cable for $29. Your review was the factor that convinced me this is the solution I need. My big beef with GPS watches are the water tight ones are so expensive – I do triathlons. And I hate carrying a iPhone etc on my runs. What a great compromise you discovered. Kudos for your deep research!

    Reply
  102. Rick

    I like your review DCRainmaker. Really helped me understand about this product relative to other products. I am currently putting it through its paces.Thanks.

    Reply
  103. Nick

    Thanks for your great review. I bought the Timex about a month ago and I’m very pleased with it. Thanks for the tip about the Soleus data/charger cable. I ordered it and it works perfectly!

    Reply
  104. Tony

    Very thorough review, thanks. Anybody tried recording speed runs on a windsurfer with this or similar. Garmin Quatix is closer to $400……

    Reply
  105. marathonmarie

    Thank you SO much for this review. You should write the manuals. Based on your review I bought the watch for $69 (on sale). I have had it for 2 weeks and LOVE it. However, I truly only use it for mileage calculation. I am more of a zen runner and hate looking down at pace during a run. I often run in other cities and just like to know my total mileage. That being said, the first two days, out of curiousity I did check the pace per run occasionally and it did not appear accurate. I would never use this watch as an ongoing accurate monitor of pace. When I run with the watch I have the display showing time running, distance and the actual time of day (clock). I would like to have the Soleus 2 cable to be able to download some of my runs for fun but it doesn’t sound economically feasible. Thank you again. I am a techno idiot and your review made this watch so easy to understand.

    Reply
  106. Arun Tiwari

    Does the Timex shows the calories burnt while running?

    Reply
  107. Webb N

    The GPS gets a signal faster if you put your hand up high. I’m in Florida so the buildings aren’t that tall, but when outside of the condominium space I picked up a signal in 45 seconds. When outside with the condo buildings around I picked up a signal in 1:38Min.

    When I didn’t do this in the same setting it took me 5 Min., 3:20, 3:30Min.

    Reply
  108. Webb N

    When I say put your hand up high. I mean forehead level or higher.

    Reply
  109. Brian

    I just came across your site today and started reading your various reviews. Really great job, by the way.

    I asked my wife to purchase me the Timex Marathon GPS as my birthday present and was wondering if the current pace is the same as “instantaneous pace” or is it the pace per lap type of thing. Also, I noticed the Garmin FR10 has a bit more functions, as well as the capability to upload data to a computer, but that part isn’t really a deal breaker for me because I’m not sure exactly how much data I’d want/need to analyze. Are the few extra features worth the extra $50 for the Garmin compared to the Timex? If I’m spending the extra money on the Timex, would I be better off just getting the Timex TRT1?

    I’m sort of new to running. Started last year. Training for my first marathon currently so I’m participating in a training program consisting of intervals, tempo runs, etc and am in need of a watch to help me keep track of my workouts (more functionality than a basic stop watch).

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Hmm, that’s a tough one. In general, i’ve yet to see anyone upset with their purchase of the FR10. I hear a small number of complaints about the TRT1 and Timex Marathon GPS. In the case of the TRT1, it’s mostly bug-related. In the case of the Marathon, it tends to be around some minor bugs, and general UI pieces.

      Reply
    • Brian replied

      Hmm. I would like to stay below 200, for budget wise, so that’s my cap at what I would be looking at. I’ve heard a lot of people like the FR10, so maybe I’ll get that. I just like all the functions in the trt1. what sort bugs are you talking about?

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      $200 opens up a lot of units. Especially the FR310XT these days being below that.

      Bugs for the TRT1 are primarily around satellite reception (drops/distance accuracy issues).

      Reply
  110. cc

    A late post to a great article. I’ve been using the Timex on my ocean swims with no problem at all. It won’t track distance dunking in and out of the water, but if you stop to catch your breath and hold the watch out of the water for a few seconds it’ll beep and update your distance. I’ve found it to be a great deal – picked it up for $69 at a REI clearance sale. However the display is a bit small. I wish the numbers were sized the same as my Timex Triathlon running watch.

    Reply
  111. Nicole

    Hey – I just started running and I do run/walk intervals by time, not distance. My husband gave this watch to me for Mother’s Day, but I’m afraid it’s not exactly what I need. I’ve read the manual, and your notes and can’t find that I can set (with a beep/timer) for intervals, i.e. run 2 minutes, walk 1 minute, repeat. Is there a function for this on this watch and I just missed it, or am I out of luck?

    Thanks!
    Nicole

    Reply
  112. Carles

    Hello,
    The first is to congratulate you on your blog. I wanted to ask you one thing, I bought a Timex Marathon GPS and I was wondering if you knew if the USB cable from the Garmin Forerunner 110 will be used to download the data.

    A greeting and thanks

    Reply
    • Ray Maker replied

      No, it won’t fit unfortunately. It does look similar, but both the pinouts an clips are located in different places.

      Reply
  113. Sreenath

    Greetings to all!

    First of all, dcrainmaker, you are doing a fantastic job! BTW are you in Paris? I was a student doing my doctorate a couple of years back in France and now back in India. France is wonderful and I hope you are enjoying every bit of it. Did you get a chance to watch Le Tour?

    I just got my Timex GPS Marathon watch and pretty excited to use it. I did a trail run which indicated the distance covered to be 2.67 km. I checked on Google Maps and it shows 2.85 km. Now that is quite a bit of inaccuracy. For e.g, If I took 14 minutes for the run, the average pace for 2.67 km turns out to be 5’14” per km, whereas if it were 2.85 km, it would be 4″56″ per km. Has anybody seen such inconsistencies? My run was through a fairly wooded campus.

    Have a nice day!

    Sreenath

    Reply
    • Ray Maker replied

      Yup, in Paris and have been enjoying the Tour this week. Great stuff!

      Keep in mind that Google Maps isn’t really a good indication of where you went from a precision standpoint, especially within the distances and even more so on trails. I’d look at measuring on straighter routes to compare inaccuracies, though I did a fair bit of that within the review.

      Reply
  114. Sergio

    Thanks to your article I could find out the possibility to download data from my watch. I just tested the Soleus cable and it works perfectly.

    Greetings and thanks Ray maker!

    Reply
  115. Robert

    Hey, great review, thanks! Question: A lot of us soccer referees like to use GPS watches to measure how far, etc, we’ve run in a game. I’ve even heard of some guys being able to hook up to a computer afterwards and see visually where, specifically, they ran during a game, and at what point in the game. This can lend some insights (I started off getting plenty wide enough, but got tired as it went on; or, I needed to vary my corner kick positioning more; or, I needed to use a more flexible diagonal, etc.). Obviously this would mostly entail a quite accurate, constantly updating GPS paired with some decent, not-street-map-based tracking software. Could you comment on whether you think the set up you’ve employed here would be appropriate for that sort of thing, or any other suggestions you might have? Thanks, great work!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      It’s tough. Realistically quick stop and go on a soccer field typically doesn’t come out as accurate. Folks have done this in the past, and while they get a general sense of how much they ran, the accuracy is probably a bit up in the air.

      Reply
    • Robert replied

      Thanks for the response!

      Reply
  116. Coldeane

    Hi,
    I’m a bit behind the times but bought the Timex a few weeks ago after reading your review, great little piece of kit, managed to pick it up for £50 and just ordered the Soleus 2.0 cable this morning for £15. Does everything most people will need from a watch, personally a HRM function would be great but I cant complain at that price, ill just wear 2 watches!

    Keep up the good work!

    Reply
    • Gus replied

      Where did you order this item from? Thanks in advance!

      Reply
  117. Silke Morin

    Great Review. I just ordered the Timex Marathon GPS after 5 years of owning a Garmin (which I don’t love and with which I’ve never uploaded anything or used the heart rate monitor). There have been times I’ve run with my old TImex Ironman and the Garmin, like a total dork. I look forward to just having 1 watch I love. Yay!

    Reply
  118. Beth

    I recently bought the Timex Marathon GPS watch and it worked great, until the battery got down to 40%.. It wouldn’t get a reading for GPS at spots where it previously would. Is there a magic battery percentage that it won’t get a reading? Or was it because of cloud cover?

    Reply
  119. Teresa Lafleur

    Thank you for a very informative description of this watch! I am one of those who desires an inexpensive but down to earth basic watch to measure distance and pace. You are very intelligent to be able to explain with photos all those details! Good luck with your training! I look forward to using this watch to help me after having been training for 17 years with no fancy accessories………yep!…
    Sincerely
    runmath262

    Reply
  120. Todd

    Wow! very nice in depth review. You really helped to answer a lot of the questions that I have about this watch.

    Reply
  121. Donald

    I would like to know how to delete the data on the Watch. I have 30 recorded files and unable to remove them.

    Thanks for your answer

    Reply
  122. Alejandro Donoso

    Hello to all
    Is possible to download my training on my computer?
    And see my trainings, velocity, etc
    My Lap top no recognize my watch
    I have a M434
    Thanks a lot if anybody can help me

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      See the section in the post titled ‘Software/Downloading’ for how to download…

      Reply
  123. ernesto govea

    One question please I`d like to know if with this watch or with the new model (easy trainer) I can use instant laps…I mean if after running one mile I want to start a new lap after two minutes`s rest…that would be one lap for the mile, one for the two minutes and one for the new mile, always starting back from zero…I own and old fr 205 and in the first screen I have current lap, speed and distance and total time in the second screen..I hope the cuestion is clear thanks a lot for your time.

    Reply
  124. stavros baverstock

    i have a Soleue 1.0 and am concerned about its accuracy with recording mileage and calculating the average pace. it is easy to see the Timex here is exactly the same as the Soleus 1.0 and some people have said that same concerns about the distanece recorded and average pace calculations.
    For me, all I want to know is how far i have run, the pace per mile and the average pace- however if these 2 models seem to have doubt over them then I would leave them alone.
    I have run with people who have the garmin FR10 and other Garmin watches and their recordings seem to be more in line with each other, while mine is always significantly different.
    In this price range it seems the Garmin FR10 is the watch to buy.

    Reply
  125. Evan

    I bought the Garmin FR-10 today. Found one gently used on Craigslist for $80. Works perfectly.

    Reply
  126. Brian

    When I get a signal to lock in, I am very happy with the gps watch, however, I seem to have a lot of trouble getting a lock on satellites.

    Reply
  127. James Poirier

    Hi,
    I bought a Timex Marathon GPS watch in April and have been pretty content with it. But recently it just froze on the TIME mode. All it displays is TIME. I can’t seem to get it ‘unstuck’. I have pressed all the buttons, together, separately, but nothing happens. Any suggestions?

    Thanks

    Reply
  128. Erin Gilbert

    Thanks for your review! So helpful ~ and I love your style of writing. Looking forward to reading the “long version” of your story….

    Reply
  129. Robert Kautz

    Loved the review! I received this M434 for a Christmas present in 2012. I have used it for training, and my first marathon in July in Ennis MT. As a present, it is great, but download-able data is desirable… The Soleus 2.0 USB cord is now available for 29$. But, I am very curious as to your note about bluetooth (no, but yes) that isn’t in the article, any more information on the BT would be appreciated. (Soleus has a BT heart rate monitor out now). Thanks again.

    Reply
  130. Hi, thanks for the great review (as usual on your blog ;) )
    I bought the NB GPS trainer (what is similar watch to Soleus and Timex) and also the four prong data cable from Soleus.
    The software is awful, but I finally found the solution to import TCX files to other running diaries, such as Endomondo or Run-log, etc.
    I exported the TCX file from Soleus software, and tried to import it to other aplication. As you mentioned in the review – it didn’t work. The error occured: “Unknown file format”.
    So I opened the TCX file with a notepad and saw that separators are commas. Look at this example:

    86,64000
    144,98000
    6,80000
    8,2116

    I replaced ALL the comma separators with dots (you can do this in a common text editor, such as Wordpad), saved the file and tried to import it again to my Run-log diary.
    Bingo! It worked :)

    If anyone can check this solution in other application, f.e. Garmin Connect or Sport Tracks, and let me know, I’ll be grateful.
    But I think it should work ;-)

    Reply
  131. Robert Kautz

    I did get the Soleus 4 prong cable for my Timex GPS watch. Use the “old” Soleus GPS software to download runs, then save those runs to a desktop file (for example). Then you can import that file from inside MapMyRun.
    A bit tricky, but it does work. I am writing this down as much for myself, as for others. It’s very confusing with all the different software out there that should work, but doesn’t for this setup. Thanks again.

    Reply
  132. Jigsy

    What are the major differences between this watch and the Timex Easy Trainer?

    Reply
  133. Ryan

    Hi,
    I have no way to buy the Soleue 2.0 cable in Taiwan……….
    Can the Bryton Cardio40 4 prong update cable use on the TIMEX marathon watch ?
    Many thanks!!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I’m pretty sure the pins on the Cardio unit are much tighter together than the Soleus unit (don’t align).

      Reply
  134. Sheryl

    I got the Timex Marathon watch & I have to say I haven’t been that happy with the ease of use. I’ve had a hard time locating a signal (I’m even in a major city) and I also havent figured out how to delete data. But my biggest problem is the screen just went totally blank. Any suggestions?

    Reply
  135. Sheryl

    My screen is completely blank; charging doesn’t even work. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    • James Poirier replied

      Sheryl,
      See my comment – # 154. In the end, I sent my defective watch to Timex and they simply replaced it with a new one. All I paid for was shipping. Perhaps that is what you have to do.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  136. sarbstew

    Hi! Great review- I’m looking for a waterproof gps watch for my bf for valentines day cost under $150. Is this what you would recommend? He is just getting into triathlons so it will be used for all three activities. If not this watch, do you have the link to one you would recommend I would like to support your page also, thanks!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Check out the Garmin FR10 watch, which virtually everyone seems to be happy with. However, both that and this are more for runners.

      For all three sports, you’re better spending a tiny bit more. The Garmin FR310XT is usually around $170, but is perfect for tri’s. Here’s all my recommendations: link to dcrainmaker.com

      Reply
  137. Abi

    I’ve just purchased the Timex Marathon GPS, have charged it to its full 100% battery (for approx 8 hours), however it does not appear to be coming on when switching any of the buttons. I’ve since put it back on charge says 90% battery but still when I remove the cable I’m left with a blank screen.

    Reply
  138. Georgina MacDougala

    How do you change the setting from kilometers to miles? thanks :)

    Reply
  139. amy

    loving your tip over the soleus cable- now i update my runs and rides and it gets sent over to strava! So cheap watch and all the perks!

    Reply
  140. Hi Rainmaker,
    did you know if soleus cable can also download data from the Timex Easy Trainer?

    Reply
  141. Sreenath

    Bonjour DC,

    Enjoy reading your posts and experiences in and around Paris and all your tech updates. Thanks!

    Had a question … How often do you recommend an aerobic run (slow run)? I am a 5K runner and often participate in 10K and run 2-3 times a week. Also, I am mostly a 8.00 minute miler for normal runs, what would be a target pace for aerobic runs? I ask you this rather than to a coach as you have had so much technical insight into running and fitness. A practical guy is far better than a theory one in such cases :) … A rule of thumb will help.

    Best wishes,
    Sreenath

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      It’s generally better to focus on intensity than specific pace in most cases, only because intensity aligns better to day to day fluctuations on how you feel. Obviously, when it comes race time there is definitely value to running at a specific pace, but I wouldn’t let it completely dictate all training.

      I would look at some of the free training plans that you can easily follow here: link to halhigdon.com

      It’s what I used to get into running and ensures a bit of variety. Doing interval/speed work is the single biggest thing you can do to improve paces (but again, not every day).

      Reply

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