Most runoff analyses using a grid-based distributed model use one parameter group calibrated at the outlet of a watershed, instead of dividing the watershed into subwatersheds. Significant differences between the observed value and the simulation result of the subwatersheds can occur if just one parameter group is used in all subwatersheds that have different hydrological characteristics from each other. Therefore, to improve the simulation results of the subwatersheds within a watershed, a model calibrated at every subwatershed needs to be used to reflect the characteristics of each subwatershed. In this study, different parameter groups were set up for one or two sites using a distributed model, the GRM (Grid based Rainfall-runoff Model), and the evaluations were based on the results of rainfall–runoff analysis, which uses a multi-site calibration (MSC) technique to calibrate the model at the outlet of each site. The Hyangseok watershed in Naeseong River, which is a tributary of Nakdong River in Korea, was chosen as the study area. The watershed was divided into five subwatersheds each with a subwatershed outlet that was applied to the calibration sites. The MSC was applied for five cases. When a site was added for calibration in a watershed, the runoff simulation showed better results than the calibration of only one site at the most downstream area of the watershed. The MSC approach could improve the simulation results on the calibrated sites and even on the non-calibrated sites, and the effect of MSC was improved when the calibrated site was closer to the runoff site. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.