French Bloke Runs

Shut up and run!

Imperial, WTF? Metric FTW!

I promised some ranting, I’ll deliver. This post could have been written by Grumpy Grampy himself.

I’m not an expert on running, so I frequently look for resources online and they’re in English more often than not. I also use smartphone apps and gadgets whose default language is English. In short: the running world is predominantly English-speaking, and more precisely American and British. Ah, the USA and the UK, the only two countries in the world that still use the old imperial system (although the UK is very slowly transitioning to the metric system). Let’s just get straight to the point: the imperial system doesn’t make any sense, even to those who use it every day!

Here, most people know their weight in stones and pounds. There are 14 pounds in a stone, how the fuck does that make sense? I don’t know! So let’s say that I used to weigh 14st 1lbs but now I weigh 12st 6lbs, calculating how much I lost requires a bloody PhD! On a side note, how stupid is it that the abbreviation for pound is lb?  These units are silly, it’s official. Indeed the legal definition of a pound is now based on the metric system: 1 pounds weighs 0.45359237 kilogrammes!

Same shit goes on with height: there are 12 inches in a foot, well that only works for a baby girl wearing size 12 shoes. And it’s not accurate at all either: saying I’m 5’1″ means I could be anywhere between 179cm and 182cm. Still, in this place and age, people use this barbaric system.

Indeed when it comes to units of length, the real crazy starts. Of all the Brits I’ve asked, none of them knows how many feet and yards there are in a mile! For the record, there are 5,280 feet or 1,760 yards in a mile. For example, a marathon is 26.219 miles or 26 miles and 385 yards. Mind blown. And let’s not speak of intermediary units such as chains and furlongs, because no one has any clue with regards to their measures.

All the same, runners use this nonsensical system, have there scales set to stones/pounds, enter their height into their running apps in feet/inches, and worse of all, count their running distances in miles, plan their pace in minutes per mile, even to prepare for races like 800m, 1500m, 5km or 10km. It really is the norm here: training plans and training plan generators will spit out your training pace in imperial units and won’t even offer to convert to metric, runners and coaches will use the same useless units in running clubs. What. The. Firkin. Hell.

This system is farcical, I beg you, please just give it up! Know that even though I intend to become a British citizen in the near future, I do not intend to use it for running and certainly not in this blog.

Mètre étalon

Mètre étalon – By Alain Bachelier


  1. Haha, a rant worth the Brazilian, indeed 😀
    In the defence of the Imperial system – it gave us two magic events.
    The mile race, with sir Roger Bannister’s epic fight to be the first man to run it under 4 minutes. The strive for a “sub 3:43 1500m run” (the metric equivalent) wouldn’t be as romantic, would it?
    And there is the Beer Mile, of course 😉

    But it sucks for all the other reasons you’ve mentioned. I’m still struggling with translating training/racing paces…

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