Pacer Walking Challenges Update: New Tiebreaker & Post Rules

Hey Pacers! If you enjoy competing in our monthly challenges, please take a minute to learn more about how the leaderboard and our tiebreaker system works. Pacer’s monthly challenges are a great way to motivate yourself to get more steps. We created our Pacer challenges as casual, fun competitions for people to see how active they can get but we realize that there is serious competition for the top places.

Our tiebreaker system was updated in late 2019. We have added GPS tracked activity as a tiebreaker in the Steps and Distance challenges. We’ve also introduced a cap on the number of challenge posts each Pacer user can make every day to encourage higher value, more interesting posts.

These changes, in addition to some other minor improvements, will make our challenges fairer, close loopholes, and encourage more interesting content in the challenge boards. We think challenges will be more fun too. Read on for more information.

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Challenge Tiebreakers:

Businesspeople finishing a race concept / Shutterstock

Tiebreaker 1: GPS Tracked Data

We’ve introduced a brand new tiebreaker that will be considered first to determine challenge ranking: GPS tracked activity. This only counts towards the Steps and Distance challenge. (5k Race and Routes already uses GPS, Group challenges are unchanged for now). If users are still tied after GPS activity is taken into account, Pacer will consider the 2nd tiebreaker – Likes (see below).

Steps Challenge:

When multiple users hit the same numbers for the steps challenge, users with the most GPS tracked steps will be ranked higher.

Maximum Steps: 10,000 steps per day

Since 10,000 steps is the highest step goal for the challenge, the tiebreaker considers GPS tracked steps up to 10,000 per day. Steps over that number don’t count towards the tiebreaker.

Example: User A and User B both get 10,000 steps on the first day of the competition. User A has 5,000 steps tracked through GPS, while user B did not use GPS at all. User A would rank higher than User B on the leaderboard.

Distance Challenge:

When multiple users hit the same numbers for the steps challenge, users with the most GPS tracked distance will be ranked higher.

Maximum Distance: 25km/day (~15.5 miles/day)

This tiebreaker considers up to 25km or around 15.5 miles per day. Distance over that number does not count towards the tiebreaker.

Example: User A and User B both walk 20km on the first day of the competition. User A has 10km tracked through GPS, while user B did not use GPS at all. User A would rank higher than User B on the leaderboard.

Tiebreaker 2: Likes on Challenge Posts

man checking phone - step counting concept
Ollyy / Shutterstock

When users have the same number of steps or same distance and the same amount of GPS tracked activity, Pacer will consider likes on challenge posts. This works the same way as the current tiebreaker system does – though we’re implementing a limit on the number of challenge posts each user can make per day.

Example: User A and User B both get 10,000 steps in day 1 of the competition, and all 10,000 are tracked via GPS. User A gets 10 likes on her challenge ranking or challenge posts, but User B does not make any posts and does not get any likes. User A would rank higher on the leaderboard.

New: Challenge Post Limits

We created challenge posts so that users can post their results and motivate themselves to walk more through likes and comments. To improve the overall quality of challenge posts and reduce spam or low-value posts, we’ve set a limit of 5 challenge posts per day for each user.

Challenge Post Limit: 5 posts per day (per user)

5 posts per day allows each Pacer user to post multiple updates on their progress, or post a few times if they’re not happy with a previous post. We hope that this leads to better quality posts in general so that the challenge feed is a more interesting place to post and read posts from others.

To get more likes, users will need to create quality posts with interesting photos that make Pacers want to click and like, rather than creating a high volume of posts with just a like or two.

Email Verification:

To compete in challenges (as well as to use the Pacer Feed or use groups), users will need to verify their email address. This step increases authenticity in our Pacer Feed, and will also help to prevent users from exploiting the Likes tiebreaker.

Important Note: Manually Added Steps DO NOT Count

Women celebrating finishing a race together
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock

Just as an important reminder – manually added steps do not count towards our challenges or groups. Only steps tracked by a device count towards challenges. This means that if you add steps manually, the steps will show up in your individual Pacer stats but not in your challenge leaderboard. This helps prevent an obvious vector for potential cheating in challenges.

We have recently identified and closed an exploit that seems to have allowed some users to get around this. Please help us to ensure a fair and fun competition.

Final Thoughts:

These changes should make our challenges fairer and encourage higher quality posts in the challenge feed. Pacer may implement additional changes or improvements to the challenge tiebreakers or challenge system in the future. If you have any suggestions or comments on the new changes, please email us at or send a message through the in-app feedback system (Me->Settings->Feedback). Thanks for using Pacer!

Get Pacer

If you haven’t downloaded the Pacer app yet, download Pacer for free (on mobile)! You can also check out our website (mobile or desktop) or follow our blog for more great walking and healthy lifestyle tips.

6 thoughts on “Pacer Walking Challenges Update: New Tiebreaker & Post Rules

  1. This is not ok. I joined this app recently for my mental health. Now u are telling me that my challenges are determined by the no of likes I get and the person who had been using the app longer. I do not think that is fair and I do not want to be associated with any app using this type of assessment. This is wrong on so many levels. Everyone who completes the challenges should be rewarded. Please cancel my membership. I am very disappointed and will look elsewhere .

    1. Hi Virgi. Couple important notes here. First, Likes on challenge posts are only a tiebreaker if scores are tied and it’s the 2nd tiebreaker at that. The first tiebreaker is steps tracked by GPS.

      Challenges are just for fun, and there are no rewards for winning other than Pacer badges. For our steps challenge, a large number of people will achieve their step goal every day. In a sense, they’re all tied as you can’t get 32 days of 10,000 steps in a 31 day month. This only affects where they show up on the leaderboard.

      If you’d like to cancel your membership, you’ll need to do it through the App Store or Google Play Store depending on phone type. Email us at and we’ll send you more instructions.

  2. I tried using your email address you have on here to send a message, it came back telling me it doesn’t exist. I sent a msg through the app, no response. I’ve used the app for over 2.5 years with no problem losing steps. I just started the challenges and started using the GPS, both times I lost a 1,000 steps. I use other apps that’s how I know. I also don’t like that you are trapped in the GPS setting when it’s turned on.

    As for the likes, I disagree with the above post you made. I see ppl ahead of me in challenges that do not have my steps or distance in, the only thing I can figure out is that it’s the likes. So likes don’t seem to be the tie breaker.

    Why are there no rules posted somewhere in the app. I actually find this the most confusing app. It’s all about likes and posts and then your achievements. I was asked to join a couple of teams, the likes just make it totally unfair. I have yet to see it about tie busting. You have to jump around, liking ppl everywhere, to fulfill your duty as a teammate. Strangest thing I’ve seen.

    1. First, sorry for the confusion. You can email us at or you can email if you’re not getting a response.

      Please send us a screenshot of what you’re seeing so we can look into this. The tiebreaker rules actually appear in the challenge details. If you click the challenge info (anywhere at the top of the challenge page) you’ll see all that info and more.

      Groups are completely optional, and if a group is telling you that you need to get likes to stay in we recommend that you find a more friendly, motivational group. Because groups have different sizes, only the top group members are counted in any event. This makes it fair for smaller groups. We’d like to see what you’re seeing about steps and distance to look into why you’re showing up lower with more steps. Thanks for using Pacer and hopefully we can sort this out for you quickly.

  3. Two points.

    1. We should have longer run challenges in addition to 5ks. We should at least have 10k and 20k, maybe even half and full marathon distance challenges.

    2. The like rating system should not count in rankings. If you want a seperate leaderboard for likes, that’s fine but it has nothing to donwith effort or ability so it should not affect standing in distance challenges.

    1. Thanks for the feedback. We try to keep our challenges accessible to everyone, but I’ll pass along your feedback about longer run challenges. We’ve added GPS walking as the 1st tiebreaker, but for challenges like 10,000 steps it’s often the case that multiple people get the same score. Everyone is really tied when you think about it, so the idea was that people who create interesting posts would get a boost. We’re still evaluating tiebreakers and we’ll pass along the feedback. We hope we can settle on something that most of our users like.

      Thanks again for the feedback and thanks for using Pacer!

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