Garmin Forerunner 35 vs TomTom Spark Cardio – How They Stack Up

Garmin has just released the next iteration of their entry level GPS watch for runners, the new Garmin Forerunner 35. This series started with the very basic Forerunner 10, before moving on the Forerunner 15 (activity tracking, HRM strap support, and improved battery), and then the Forerunner 25 (phone notifications, bigger screen).

The new Garmin Forerunner 35

And now, Garmin improves the experience for runners who prefer a simple device (if we may refer to this device as ‘simple’, with increasing number of features on offer) by bringing in the hottest trend for running watches, a built in optical-HR sensor. No putting on those uncomfortable chest straps anymore. What more, all this is brought to you at an almost entry level price point of USD $200. Ok, that’s not strictly entry level when GPS watches from Garmin itself and other respected brands are available in the market for $100, or even lower in some cases, but, a basic runners watch nevertheless with some advanced features.

With that, let me get to a head on head comparison of the key features of this watch with the one watch I regard as a great value proposition for a basic running watch, the TomTom Spark Cardio.

TomTom Spark Cardio
TomTom Spark Cardio

Feature Comparison

FeatureTomTom Spark CardioGarmin Forerunner 35Winner
AnnouncedSep, 2015Aug, 2016
Interval TrainingYesYesDraw
Racing against timeRace ModeVirtual PacerDraw
Zone based trainingYesNoTomTom Spark Cardio
Activity TrackingYesYesDraw
Auto LapYesYesDraw
Multisport supportRunning, Cycling, SwimmingRunning, CyclingTomTom Spark Cardio
Vibration AlertsYesYesDraw
Phone notifications, call alertsNo (rumors of late 2016 addition)YesGarmin FR 35
Phone music controlsNoYesGarmin FR 35
Wireless phone syncYesYesDraw
BatteryAs watch: 3 weeks
GPS: 11 hours
As watch: 9 days
GPS: 13 hours
Optical HRYesYesDraw
Cost$160$200TomTom Spark Cardio


With the feature comparison covered, lets look at how the two scored. We will award 2 points for a win, and 1 for a draw. Adding up, we get to the following results.

Garmin Forerunner 35 – 13
TomTom Spark Cardio – 15

Winner: TomTom Spark Cardio. The Spark Cardio edges the Garmin Forerunner 35 not only in overall feature set, but more importantly, at a price point which is $40 less than the Garmin.

Final Words

So, there we have it, a nice little comparison of the key features of both these GPS watches, to help you decide based on what’s important for you! From my perspective, TomTom Spark continues to be the king of the runners road with greater features per dollar. One thing to keep in mind though is that unlike Garmin Forerunner 35, Spark comes in a variety of variants, with the one compared here being the Spark Cardio. In fact, with a budget of $200, you get the Spark Cardio + Music which includes 3GB music storage on board and an ability to play music wirelessly to your bluetooth headphones without requiring a phone.

Where to Buy TomTom Spark Cardio, Garmin Forerunner – NA TomTom Spark CardioGarmin Forerunner 35



How To Qualify for SCMM 2017 or ADHM 2016

Specially for Delhi NCR runners

Registrations are already on for the most awaited running event of India, the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon (SCMM). In a few days time, Aug 23rd to be precise, registrations will also start for the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon (ADHM). Now, the tough part is, both of these events now require a previous timing certificate from a recognized event to allow you to register for them. For Delhi NCR folks, I have put together the list of events one can participate to get that much needed timing certificate to register for SCMM or ADHM.

SCMM 2017 Qualifiers

DateEvent nameLocation
Jul 31Fastest Delhi Half Marathon New Delhi
Aug 07Friendship Day Manger Trail RunGurgaon
Aug 28Indirapuram Monsoon Run Ghaziabad
Sep 11Noida Megathon Noida
Sep 11Dwarka Half Marathon New Delhi
Sep 181st Delhi Sundown Half Marathon New Delhi
Oct 30Millennium City Marathon Gurgoan
Nov 20Airtel Delhi Half Marathon New Delhi

ADHM 2016 Qualifiers

DateEvent nameLocation
Jul 31Gurgaon Running And Living XC Half Marathon Gurgaon
Jul 31Fastest Delhi Half Marathon New Delhi
Aug 7Friendship Day Manger Trail Run Gurgaon
Aug 28Indirapuram Monsoon Run Ghaziabad
Sep 4SBI Pinkathon Womens Run New Delhi
Sep 11Noida Megathon Noida
Sep 11Dwarka Half MarathonNew Delhi
Sep 18Delhi Sundown Half Marathon New Delhi

For registering for a full marathon, you need to provide a timing certificate for a full marathon or a half marathon. Similarly, for registering for a half marathon, provide a timing certificate for a half or a 10K run. And do not delay running your qualifier race at the earliest. The registrations for SCMM and ADHM do not remain open for a long time, so, the earlier the better. Safe option would be to run your qualifier as early as possible, Sep 11th being the last safe date for your ADHM qualifier in my opinion.

Note: Women runners are exempt from the requirement to provide the timing certificate when registering for ADHM 2016.


Comrades Marathon 2016 Live – Right Here, Right Now

Watch the live broadcast of the 2016 Comrades Marathon (91st edition), being broadcast by SABC News. The event kicks off at 5:30 am local time this Sunday, May 29th, starting at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall and will end at Kingsmead Stadium in Durban. It’s a down run this year. Some event stats:

  • 21,532 registered participants
  • 19,626 runners from South Africa
  • 97 registered participants from India

Enjoy the 12 hours of excitement!


Comrades Marathon 2016 Runners from India


From a single entry in 2009 (and a DNF), to 9 in 2010 (and the first ever set of Comrades Marathon finishers from India, of which I was fortunate enough to be one), India has come a long way to ultra running, and in particular, the Comrades Marathon, the world’s largest and most popular ultra. This year sees 97 registered runners from India (of which I expect 60-70 percent to turn up on race day). Here’s the participant list.

2016 Comrades Participants

Now 97 is a really huge number, coming from a country where running has really taken off in the last few years, with great interest in participating in unique and challenging races worldwide, including Boston Marathon, MDS, Badwater, Ultraman events, etc.

Participant Breakup

So, how do these numbers break up for 2016. Where are these runners coming from, which city or group do they belong to. Here’s a summary:

City/GroupNo. of Runners
Surti Runners (Surat)12
Chennai Runners (Chennai)5
TopGear MIG (Mumbai)5
Striders Miles (Mumbai)4

So clearly, runners from Surat, Mumbai and Chennai dominate the India participation. There are many more runners, with no particular affiliation with a running group, and I would guess that besides these cities, Bangalore and Delhi NCR would also be sending significant number of runners.

All the best to all these participants from India!!!




TomTom Spark On Sale At Starting May 29th

TomTom SparkThis is really great news. Like I mentioned in our earlier TomTom Spark review post, this one is a really value option in the running market currently, vis a vis the cost/feature comparison. Well, on May 29th, these watches will be $50 off on, as part of a sale weekend. Grab your pick from the following:

TomTom Spark GPS (base): $99 (was $149)
TomTom Spark GPS with Music: $149 (was $199)
TomTom Spark GPS with Optical HR sensor: $149 (was $199)
TomTom Spark GPS with Optical HR & Music: $199 (was $249)

IMG_20160515_120146 (1)Why Buy TomTom Spark from

You can get these watches shipped directly from to India, via the international shipping option. How much do you save doing so, versus buying it in India from say, you ask? Here’s the math:

I checked this for the basic TomTom Spark model listed currently for $149.98 on Adding to the cart showed an additional charge of $29.99 for shipping and handling, so about 20% over the listed price. Total cost: $180.

Cost in India of the same watch on is currently Rs 11,899/-. Buying from US store will cost us $180, or Rs 12,121/-, almost same as price. But when you add the $50 discount, this will become $130, so, Rs 8,755/-. Now that’s some serious money saved (about Rs 3,000) over the India rates for this sale period.

If you are looking to get a decent GPS watch, well, this is a great time to go for one!