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Automatically flag a run if it breaks a world record

Apologies if this has come up before.

I've flagged quite a few "running" activities that were actually cycling activities. This seems to be a problem when the person is quite a slow cyclist, which makes them appear to be a very good runner. I don't want to flag an activity if it is a genuine effort, but on a few occasions the "run" has had sections that are impossibly fast. Today I flagged a "run" which had a 1km section of 2:12. The world record is 2:11.96.

My idea is a filter that flags up any segments or "best efforts" that are below, at, or very close to world record pace and automatically flag them.

I have accidentally uploaded a ride as a run before, it's a simple and honest mistake. But it seems to get flagged straight away. Perhaps they get under the radar when the total session is done in a speed that could be believable as a run.

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    We recently released a new detection system to automatically identify and remove activities containing data anomalies from leaderboards. This system is not retroactive and will be applied to new activity uploads only. However, we are committed to continually improving upon our auto-flagging system and are looking into ways of cleaning up historical data. As always, our community has tools to help maintain leaderboard integrity through the activity flag tool, which you can read about here.

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  • I peruse the leaderboards from time to time on the segments I frequent and will flag segments that are obviously bicycle rides uploaded as runs.  It's a PITA though and I'd echo your thoughts, why can't Strava automatically flag activities that are obviously wrong.   Running 3-4/mins per mile for 15, 20+ miles is a pretty dead giveaway, isn't it?

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  • Yes, this is something we've thought a lot about, and it may be coming soon. Thanks!

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  • Any update on this? I live in a big city with lots of users, and don't often get a "top 10" notification. However, when I do, I am often curious to see who's got the CR - and if it's a popular segment, almost inevitably, the best efforts will be below WR pace.

    Of course, this doesn't stop cheating, but it would be so easy to implement that I can't see a reason why it's still not done. You could do: WR pace for the segment (based on the Wava algorithm, or simply a lookup table with times for common distances, e.g. if the segment is 965m, it should not be faster than the 800m WR, if it's 1560m, it should not be faster than the 1500m WR), and do the same for the whole activity (a slow 23km bike ride might not be faster than WR for any 800m segment, but if the whole activity is faster than the HM WR, it is clearly not a run).

    A more advanced version would ask whether a segment, say, within 10% of WR pace, or 10% faster than the previous PR for the distance (whichever is slower) was the correct activity type, before including it in the calculation. The vast majority of users who use the wrong activity type do so inadvertently, and something like this might prevent it, while still allowing really fast efforts to shine.

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  • Amen...this needs to get fixed. Should be easy to flag these.

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  • I just wanted to agree that this should be implemented - the activities that I have flagged have almost always involved bad GPS data (using the phone app on a track for example, leading to someone who cycles once a week running a 400m WR) or a ride accidentally tagged as a run. But I feel like the Strava Police if I keep flagging tons of activities myself...

    We all make mistakes and some times get bad GPS data but these things should be flagged! I've seen too many CRs that break world records, and I mean really obviously. Like someone 'running' 15k in 30mins (WR is like 41min?). Or a running 1km in a minute.

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  • Yes please, fix this.  Automatically flag running world records.

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  • Just cancelled Strava Premium, as this is the most important feature that looks like it will never be introduced.
    I did a run yesterday and checked my progress on a few segments only to find 80+ cyclists registering impossible "running" times on the segments.

    I am not going flagging 80+ activities, Strava should be auto flagging better than world record running activities.

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  • Currently, we do have an auto-flag system in place. The system works to detect when an uploaded activity ranks 1st on segment leaderboards by an amount considered unlikely (based on how many athletes have matched the segment, either 25% faster or 50% faster than the existing fastest time). 

    We would love to improve this system and make the auto-flagging more robust and accurate. We appreciate the feedback and will keep you all informed when development on this system is planned. 

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  • @ Ellie

    "Currently, we do have an auto-flag system in place. The system works to detect when an uploaded activity ranks 1st on segment leaderboards by an amount considered unlikely"

     

    There are leaderboards in my area where the top 100 had 80+ cyclists on them. The auto-flag system that is in place does not work.

    People running faster than world record times should be auto flagged, not just if they happen to place first on a leaderboard. Note these cycles as runs, these people end up top on several segment leader boards and are still not flagged.

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  • Colin, that is correct. The current auto-flag system does not work for segments already polluted by false efforts. We are aware of this shortcoming. Improvements to the system will undoubtedly include a fix for this.

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  • I'm flagging these two segments about once a week or more with people registering efforts below 2mn/km average:
    https://www.strava.com/segments/13688614
    https://www.strava.com/segments/13333488

    ex with: https://www.strava.com/activities/1368680391/segments/33972561789

    The segment is not polluted. ~1'45''/km vs ~2'50''/km should be enough of a treshold.
    Can you please check?

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  • Here is another example.  Strava, it's embarrassing that you still haven't developed a working auto-flag tool that will identify cases like this.  It was clearly a simple user error, as he even named the activity a ride.  Your system should be capable of recategorizing activities when necessary.

    https://www.strava.com/activities/1373368930/segments/34083558555

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  • Completely agree with this. Surely strava could cross check segment time against world record for that distance and flag if segment was faster than world record pace. This would be a big improvement.
    Activities are often manually flagged months after they have occured. Automatic flagging would give user a better chance of remembering what happened, did they leave their gps on in the car? Did they enter a cycle ride as a run? Or did they actually just set a new world record?!

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  • How long will it take to implement this? The "auto-flag a segment if it's 25% faster than the current record" is a seriously broken/lazy system. As much as I like to spend my Sunday afternoons identifying people who ran 60km/h on a segment, I feel like I could fix this myself if you gave me access to the code. There are known WR times for 100m to 100 mile distances. If anyone beats them, auto-flag the segment.

    If the resistance to doing this is due to Strava's origins as a cycling app, I kind of get it, but there are enough runners on here that this just makes sense to do. I'm not getting a ton of value from the other premium features (i.e., Garmin gives me the same thing) - considering dropping my premium membership if this doesn't get resolved.

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  • This is taking too long to resolve. Do runners need an alternative to Strava?! The solution is a pretty simple algorithm - as per previous suggestions (any run that breaks a world record, by a >40yr old, whilst going up hill etc.). The solution needs to impose the activity type on the whole exercise, not just the segment.

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  • There are just so my offenders, most of them seem to come from using the Strava android/iPhone app. This would be a good place to start fixing the problem.

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  • Also it would be very simple to add a filter, any activity under 3min pace per Km under 130bpm should be flagged automatically.

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  • Can we get this fixed. I am a runner and most of the segments I run have a couple of outliers in 1st/2nd place - that could not have been run at this pace as it would be smashing a world record.

    I am not suggesting that this is deliberate cheating, as its obviously an impossibe time. Presumably its a cyclist who has forgotten to switch activity from Run to Ride.

    It would be very easy to auto flag these activities to keep them off the leader board. You could also message the athlete and suggest they update the activity. In most case they would thank you for this. It would improve the quality of the data for both Strava and the athlete themselves.

    Lets get this done.......

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  • Any news on getting the updates for this applied historically?  It would be a huge under taking to do this for every run I come across that looks way out.

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  • Despite your claims, a friend of mine accidentally loaded a bike ride as a run today, the ride contained 4 separate men's World Records. I don't know why you are finding this so hard, the algorithm is quite simple. Any run that contains a kilometre quicker than 2:11 needs flagged, a mile in 3:43. If you need to tell you what all the world records are, or write the algorithm for you, just let me know. This should have been dealt with years ago.

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