Global Running Day with Garmin

Twenty Years of Running with Garmin

With two decades of experience under our belts, Garmin releases data to highlight 20 years of running accomplishments as well as 20 years of watches for runners.

At Garmin we know runners. Rising before the sun just to get miles in before work, sweating through your T-shirt while most of your friends are still in bed, constantly pursuing the next personal best simply for your own satisfaction — all experiences we know well, because we’re right there with you. In fact, we have been for the last 20 years.

Garmin released the world’s first GPS running watch, the Forerunner® 201, in 2003, and my how the years have flown. (Peep the pictures below — hard to believe now, but yes, we did used to walk around with those on our wrists. And it really was cool at the time.) And to celebrate the Forerunner product line’s 20th anniversary, which just so happens to coincide with Global Running Day, we pulled some data from Garmin Connect, our free tool for tracking all your health and fitness data, to demonstrate just how much you all have run over the past two decades.

Pie chart of running miles logged on Garmin connect.
Bar chart of Garmin Connect Users run distances

In the 20 years since its inception, we’ve crafted more than 40 iterations of the Forerunner watch — each model building upon the last to ensure that those who run with Garmin always have access to the latest advancements in fitness technology. And while there’s something special in each watch we release, there are a few in particular we wanted to highlight for dedicated Forerunner fans.

Forerunner® 201 – 2003

Back where it all began — the first Forerunner (not to be confused with the Forerunner 101, which actually came after the 201) was the first GPS running watch on the market. We hesitate to call it a watch, because by today’s standards, it’s pretty huge — but back then, it was revolutionary.

Forerunner® 305 – 2006

The Forerunner 305 was such a fan favorite among the running community that its sales’ lifespan was more than 6 years — which is a long time in tech years. Its GPS antenna actually wrapped around part of the wrist to provide a better view of the sky, with the GPS receiver enabling it to track under trees and near tall buildings.

Fun fact: In the last three months, there have still been 849 Garmin Connect users actively uploading runs using their Forerunner 305 watches — Garmin Forerunners are that durable.

Forerunner® 310XT – 2009

The XT stands for cross-training, so the Forerunner 310XT was the first Garmin watch built with triathletes in mind. It opened the door beyond just running — now users could track swimming, cycling and running all with the same device. And while Garmin now offers several different watches for triathletes, 7,280 Garmin Connect users are still loyal to their 2009 310XT models.

Forerunner 10® – 2012

The idea with the Forerunner 10 was to make it as affordable as possible to the masses — everybody deserves to get the most out of their runs. Garmin engineers were faced with the challenge of building a compelling product that still packed reliable metrics at a lower price point — and with more than 1 million units sold, we think it’s safe to say they nailed it.

Forerunner 225® – 2015

The Forerunner 225 was Garmin’s first-ever watch with an optical heart rate sensor built in, complete with a colorful gauge to identify your heart rate zones for better training. Since then, the majority of our wearables now have integrated heart rate sensors, so the Forerunner 225 was a bit of trailblazer for its time.

Forerunner® 645 – 2018

The Garmin Forerunner 645 was the first running watch built to connect to third-party music apps such as Spotify and Amazon Music. You could also add MP3s straight to the watch so you could leave your phone at home while venturing out for a run without sacrificing the tunes. Ah, music to our ears.

Forerunner® 945 LTE – 2021

The Forerunner 945 LTE was the first Garmin smartwatch to be completely network-connected without the use of a phone. For runners this translates to freedom with an added sense of security. Friends and family can track your live location on your runs without the hassle of lugging your phone along with you — truly a win for all involved.

Forerunner® 965 – 2023

Released just this year, the Forerunner 965 is the first Garmin Forerunner to come complete with a brilliant OLED display and premium materials, like the lightweight titanium bezel. It still features the most advanced running and fitness features available — and it’s still purpose-built to be durable no matter the environment — but it’ll look a whole lot better on the podium once the tried-and-true Garmin running features help you get there.

New to the Garmin running community? We’re happy to have you. If you’re a data nerd (like we are), you can read through how some of our features work with Firstbeat Analytics™ on our science pages dedicated specifically to runners like yourself. Or, if you’re ready to run instead of read, you can shop our latest Garmin Forerunner watches here.  

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