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Back Away From the Headphones, Ma’am

Posted by Filed Under: News and Opinion

Those runners planning to do this summer’s Grandma’s Marathon or any of the shorter distances surrounding the main event in Duluth, Minn., might find the course both quieter and noisier. (You may remember that CompleteRunning wrote about this very subject a while ago.)
anti-ipod.jpg

Marathon organizers last week announced they would formally ban headphones and all portable devices at all USATF-sanctioned races, including the sold-out Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon, William A. Irvin 5k, Park Point 5 Miler and Minnesota Mile races in Duluth and St. Paul.

Violators will be asked to surrender their equipment, which will be mailed to them within two weeks of the race. Those that refuse to turn over their gear will be disqualified and not be included in the official results, marathon officials announced in an April 4 news release.

The ban was announced after USA Track & Field adopted a new rule forbidding popular mobile music players at any running events it sanctions. Specifically, it says, “The visible possession or use by athletes of video or audio cassette recorders or players, TV’s, CD or DVD players, radio transmitters or receivers, mobile phones, computers, or any similar devices in the competition area shall not be permitted.” Wrist chronometers and heart rate monitors are allowed, but apparently cell phones are not. Keep in mind, too, that the USATF-approved events run the gamut, from track and field to marathons.

In the past, road race officials have discouraged use of some of these devices. (TVs? Who the heck runs a race while watching TV?!) Many organizers warn participants not to wear headphones during competition for their own safety, but the requests—usually included in race fliers and on web sites—are widely ignored.

It will be interesting to see if other major events follow Grandma’s example. For those accustomed to training with music, the next big race might seem a little quieter and require a new strategy. Or, it may mean seeking out courses that remain “user friendly.” On the other hand, some participants may find a more social racing atmosphere in which more people carry on conversations to help get through the miles and readily absorb shout-outs from enthusiastic spectators.

(Update: Do a search for “Ipod ban,” and you’ll see the USATF is not alone. From Scottish teachers complaining about students wearing listening devices during class, to a New York state legislator wanting to ban their use in crosswalks, to companies worried about secrets being stolen on the portable devices, the ubiquitous listening accessory is under attack from many corners.)

About Anne

Anne’s been running for so long that when two paths diverge in the woods, not only she does she know to go for the one with the most foreboding weeds, swarms of bees and steep, rocky climbs, but she convinces everyone else to come along. Then, before people are done cursing and nursing insect bites, bloody knees and poison oak outbreaks, she’ll again run — away. She eschews a lot of the newfangled devices that are supposed to make you a better runner because she believes it’s what you put into your body, not on it, that really matters. (Footwear is the exception.) That includes proper nourishment of the mind, which we all know is what really makes the difference on the road…and the trail…and the track. At some point she started to realize that not everyone has run into an Alaskan grizzly bear, been pegged by police as a robber, lost her shorts in a major marathon, rubbed elbows with Olympians, mistaken movie stars for beach bums and watched a wildfire consume her suburb - yes, while she was on a long run. Whether it’s these unique situations, or the universal ones every recreational runner encounters, after she lives it, she loves nothing better than to write about it at Run DMZ.



45 Comments
  1. Adeel on April 9th at 10:05 am

    Why is this such a hot topic? I don’t understand. Why don’t people discuss the flavour of Gatorade served at marathons with the same vim and vigour?

  2. Blaine Moore (Run to Win) on April 9th at 1:26 pm

    Adeel,

    I don’t drink gatorade during marathons; I stick to water. 😉

    As for the topic of banning head phones, many races don’t just discourage you from wearing headphones for safety reasons, their rules explicitly forbid them. It just happens to be a rule that isn’t enforced, but the language is usually very straight forward: you aren’t allowed to wear them.

    Anybody that knows my views knows that while I don’t care if somebody has their head buried (as long as that person doesn’t affect my race), I don’t really see this as a bad thing at all. I’m sure that there will be a lot of moaning about it though.

    I need to look into the USATF ban, however; I hadn’t heard of it before now and as I am a race director this year I need to make sure that our race stays within the rules of our governing body.

  3. Jeanne on April 9th at 6:18 pm

    Adeel, what’s not to understand? Many people, rightly or wrongly, rely on music or podcasts, to “get them through” running, or through particularly difficult patches of a race. Take their headphones away, and things get more difficult (I’m wild-ass guessing) for those people. Banning headphones might even thin out the ranks of participants (yes, some will argue that’s not a bad thing. That’s another article). So that’s why it’s a hot topic. You can’t tell me you haven’t noticed the proliferation of “listening devices” during races … well, ban all those devices, and that’s how many people you have who will potentially be very annoyed.

    Or maybe I’m wrong and they will all learn to live without. It’s possible!
    🙂

  4. Irene on April 9th at 7:37 pm

    It looks like they don’t want a competitior to use a “device” so that they don’t have an edge on pacing. I just thought it was soley a liability issue.

    Music is important to some of my training, but I guess I need to be prepared and train without my tunes OR just sing while running… 😉

  5. Adeel on April 9th at 8:49 pm

    I didn’t realize that people truly rely on music in the tough part of a race. I don’t even know that it’s possible, but I’ve never run with music.

  6. Funky Dung on April 10th at 6:11 am

    Music is an necessity for me. f bans on iPod use during races become widespread and common, I may never run another half marathon, let alone a marathon. There is no freakin’ way I’d make it through 2+ hours of pounding the pavement without a soundtrack.

    It’s not even just a matter of getting through tough spots. It’s about boredom. I love running, but that love includes listening to hard rock tunes.

    I’m sure some folks will tell me that I don’t really love running, because if I did I wouldn’t need my iPod. I liken those folks to the people who tell me I don’t really like coffee because I put a lot of cream and sugar in it. I tell both groups that if they don’t like cream and/or sugar or iPods, they don’t have to use them. Don’t take them away from me just because you don’t like them.

  7. Nancy Toby on April 10th at 11:54 am

    Hurrah for the ban! In my race last Saturday I made a point to try to talk to three different runners that wore iPods. Not one of them gave any indication that they heard me speaking right next to them. They certainly wouldn’t hear a race official or vehicle, either.

  8. Funky Dung on April 10th at 2:21 pm

    1. I am generally in no mood to talk to anyone during a race. IMHO, talking is for training. Even I was in the mood, I doubt I’d have the breath to spare.

    2. What would a race official need to tell me that wouldn’t be obvious based on the behavior of the huge crowd of runners ahead of me?

    3. Emergency vehicles should be using their sirens, so they’d certainly be audible. What other vehicles do you anticipate being on a closed course?

  9. Funky Dung on April 10th at 2:26 pm

    I keep hearing that iPods make people antisocial. So what? Is that really a reason to ban them? Being social is a crucial part of training motivation for me, but it’s pretty irrelevant to racing.

    I’ve been told more times than I care to recall that running with music is hurting my performance. I disagree, but for the sake of argument I’ll assume it is. So what? Let me worry about that. It’s not a reason to ban portable music devices.

    That just leaves safety. Have portable music devices been demonstrated to be safety hazards? If they have, why hasn’t that fact been more widely publicized before now? The Walkman was introduced more than 20 years ago and portable transistor radios have been around for about 40 years. Runners don’t seem to have been adversely affected by either. Why are iPods perceived to be so much more dangerous that portable radios, tape players, and CD players? Until I can see a causal link between music listening and accident rates or severity, I’m not going to stop doing it. A danger needs to be more than hypothetical to justify a ban.

  10. Blaine Moore (Run to Win) on April 10th at 6:05 pm

    Funky Dugg, you wrote, “Emergency vehicles should be using their sirens, so they’d certainly be audible. What other vehicles do you anticipate being on a closed course?”

    I see three things wrong with that statement:
    I have seen people who were oblivious to sirens because they had their music too loud, so an emergency vehicle is not “certainly” going to be audible, they will only “probably” be audible.

    Not all courses are closed to traffic.

    The other vehicle on a closed course is probably the one that is going to make somebody very unhappy. (an example of an idiot driver)

    Another note, Funky Dugg, is that your list does not just leave safety as the only reason for wearing headphones. If you read the links that Anne provided, specifically to the USATF rules and articles, you will see in rule #144 point #2 that no assistence may be given to runners, and then that point and the next few points define what assistence is. Any sort of electronic device (basically and paraphrased) can be considered assistence.

    Grandma’s Marathon is a USATF sanctioned event that is going to enforce the rules of their governing body. They feel that just because the vast majority of the people in the race are not going to have the ability to win money doesn’t mean that they should have any competitive advantages, is my guess.

    The rule, and Grandma’s news article on their website (at http://www.grandmasmarathon.com/news/index.php?sect_rank=1&story_id=230233&refer_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.grandmasmarathon.com%2F) don’t mention safety or being anti-social or not having as good of a performance at all.

  11. thodarumm on April 11th at 6:36 am

    Whew. .I am glad I ran my first half marathon. This may be my last if music is banned. My race said that it was discouraged. I thought it was for safety reasons. In any case, I admire people who run without music. I absolutely cannot run 13.1 miles without music. I started running only after I discovered Cardiocoach. I don’t even run to any music. I just use Cardiocoach. But before that, I just was never able to run more than a mile or two. The pain was unbearable and the boredom ..undescribable. I have since then tried on and off to get the headpohones of my ears just for my own good, but I find it hard to run more than 3 miles.

  12. thodarumm on April 11th at 6:41 am

    Oh forgot to add.. there totally is a safety issue invovled here. It really is dangerous to run with headphones. I am very aware of it and wear headphones that allow me to hear outside noises. As far as unfair advantage, I don’t know. I am not a fast runner. For me, it just makes running enjoyable and doable. I don’t think I would run for an hour if I had not discovered running with music. (incidentally, I hated headphones before that, but then.. I also objected to surround sound when my husband plunked down money on those gizmos 🙂 )

  13. Funky Dung on April 11th at 6:52 am

    I have seen people who were oblivious to sirens because they had their music too loud, so an emergency vehicle is not “certainly” going to be audible, they will only “probably” be audible.

    When does personal responsibility enter the picture? I listen to music, but I generally keep it low enough to pay some attention to my surroundings. Is it really the job of the USATF or any other body to be nanny for runners who lack common sense?

    Not all courses are closed to traffic.

    Point taken. I’ve only been running competitively for about 2 years, and in that short span I’ve only run on closed courses. Perhaps a ban may be justifiable on open courses.

    Any sort of electronic device (basically and paraphrased) can be considered assistence.

    Surely you must be kidding. If using an iPod is a competitive advantage for some folks, not using one is likely to be a disadvantage to many of the same. Besides, it’s not like we’re talking about performance enhancing drugs. Either you’ve trained well and/or have innate ability or you don’t. Listening to music won’t magically turn anyone into a top finisher. Not listening to music, though, might make running less appealing for less talented runners. Banning iPods is likely to drive a lot of people away from the sport. Only the elites benefit from that, and they never had anything to fear from slow, music-listening people like me anyhow.

    The rule, and Grandma’s news article on their website …don’t mention safety or being anti-social or not having as good of a performance at all.

    No, they don’t. However, those issues come up every time this issue gets major press/blog coverage. Heck, they come up whenever my training partners (all master runners) harass me about my iPod. 😉

  14. Funky Dung on April 11th at 6:54 am

    BTW, Thank you Anne for providing this friendly forum for debating this issue. 🙂

  15. Anne on April 11th at 8:03 am

    Glad to provide another opportunity to debate a continually contentious subject, Funky Dung. And thanks to all of you who’ve weighed in with some great observations and opinions.

    As someone who ran road races well before portable devices began appearing, I can say that the growing popularity of iPods and other devices has had an impact on events, both good and bad. And, as people have pointed out, this is an issue for competitive and recreational runners, not the elite. Looks like the USATF wants everyone to be on par and also to help limit organizers’ liability for mishaps due to distracted runners.

    What will be interesting is to see if other popular races follow Grandma’s lead and actually place penalties on people who ignore the rules by removing their finish times from the results. In a smaller race, it’s much easier to police. But what about those the size of, say, Chicago or one of the Rock ‘n’ Roll franchises?

  16. Blaine Moore (Run to Win) on April 11th at 8:15 am

    When does personal responsibility enter the picture?

    Personal responsibility is when you are out on a public road doing a training run. A race waiver really does not provide the race organizers any real legal protection, and you can still seek damages for your own incompetence. (I mean “you” in the terms of any racer, not you specifically.)

    If using an iPod is a competitive advantage for some folks, not using one is likely to be a disadvantage to many of the same.

    Take a look at the rule; it’s on the bottom of page 3/top of page 4. The issue is not whether music is a competitive advantage, it is all about “assistence”. Assistence can be anything other than a watch or heart rate monitor (specific allowed exceptions) and other than somebody yelling at you from the sidelines.

    That person yelling at you is not allowed to use a bullhorn, they are not allowed to jump onto the course/track, and they are not allowed to keep in touch with you through any electronic means such as a radio or cell phone.

    The banning of music players is probably specifically addressing something like theoderums “cardiocoach” (I’m just guessing as I don’t actually know what that product is).

    You can not have somebody jump into the middle of a race to pace you; they have to start with everybody else and technically have to be a competitor in order to not be considered illegal assistence.

    That’s the way that I am reading it, anyway. Personally, headphones don’t bother me as long as the person wearing them doesn’t endanger or inconvenience me.

  17. Nancy Toby on April 11th at 8:27 am

    I’m just very happy to know that I won’t have to deal with any of you noise addicts in triathlons, because you’d be disqualified there.

    I don’t know ANY earphone wearer that doesn’t allege that they always keep it low enough to hear outside sounds. Yet none of them I’ve tried to speak with respond. I think that’s a bit of contradiction there.

  18. cynical bill on April 11th at 9:38 am

    My Garmin is a far better pacing tool than any iPod, and I don’t hear anybody talking about banning those because they offer assistance. I’ve never had a problem hearing while using headphones. I even hear the footsteps of other runners, which, i believe, are not quite as loud as most sirens. That being said, I don’t like to race with headphones, but I don’t think I should be forced not to. Especially when the reasons given are specious at best.

  19. Gretchen on April 11th at 11:51 am

    I have a feeling banning music is going to become more common. I ran an Envirosports event this year and they ban headphones in all events. The just straight up disqualified people who wore headphones. There races are usually smaller trail events, so as someone said, easier to police. Their reasons for banning headphones amounted to wanting participants to connect more with the environment around them, or something like that. I can see how that wouldn’t really fly in a big road race.
    I personally never ran with headphones until I started running ultras. I love running without music, but do find that it’s a great option when you’re running for 8 hours or more. I also agree with the statement on personal responsibility. I keep my music at a volume so that if I’m trail running I can hear a mountain bike coming up behind me in plenty of time. Safety is only an issue if you’re being irresponsible. As for “aid or assistance” I don’t see how music can qualify as either when a heart rate monitor doesn’t.

  20. samson on April 11th at 1:19 pm

    i’m with funky dung. banning ipods is a load of crap. and as for “socializing” during a race.. that’s not what i’m there for. there’s always some lame woman cheering and screaming in the first 10 miles of a marathon bugging the crap outta me. i make an effort not to talk to her with my ipod, and i’ll be making the same effort without.

  21. Bill Gibbs on April 11th at 6:29 pm

    As for “aid or assistance” I don’t see how music can qualify as either when a heart rate monitor doesn’t.

    Left by Gretchen on April 11th, 2007

    An HRM only keeps track of your HR, music can be used to set the pace like in an aerobics class. Change the tempo of the music, change the speed of the runner.
    Personally. I got music in my head, no need for an Ipod.

  22. Funky Dung on April 11th at 6:39 pm

    An HRM only keeps track of your HR, music can be used to set the pace like in an aerobics class.

    True, but I use my HRM during races to help set my pace. IOW, it’s not merely passively reporting my heart rate; I’m responding to what’s reported by modifying my pace. How is that not aid or assistance?

  23. Dori on April 11th at 9:46 pm

    I’d rather see dogs and baby strollers banned from races. I like both dogs and babies, but I get nervous around a nervous dog and fear a stroller running into me. I can run a marathon without an iPod; the battery usually dies on me within an hour anyway.

  24. Funky Dung on April 12th at 4:02 am

    I’d rather see dogs and baby strollers banned from races.

    Amen!

  25. Blaine Moore (Run to Win) on April 12th at 6:28 am

    Y’all keep assuming that wearing an iPod means listening to music. I don’t think that that is what they are worried about based on what else you see there. The idea of assistence is having somebody else help you run your race in any way other than yelling at you from the side of the course.

    For example, having a radio link in your ear with your coach telling you every 20 meters whether to speed up or slow down is illegal. Having your coach yell your split each time you run by him is not. Having your coach use a bullhorn is. Having somebody jump onto the course halfway through to pace you is illegal. Having them get into the race on their own and start the race and pace you early in the race is not (as they are actually a competitor even if they have no intention of finishing).

    My assumption is that they do not want any electronic devices that can give you an edge over somebody else. Music players just happen to be another device that allows communication with somebody else that is not in the race, even if that communication is pre-recorded.

    That’s my understanding of it. It is the device that is banned, not the music on the device.

  26. Blaine Moore (Run to Win) on April 12th at 6:29 am

    I’d rather see dogs and baby strollers banned from races.

    Like headphones, most races do ban them. It may not be enforced, but there is usually a rule against having a stroller or a dog on the course.

  27. Funky Dung on April 12th at 7:44 am

    For example, having a radio link in your ear with your coach telling you every 20 meters whether to speed up or slow down is illegal. Having your coach yell your split each time you run by him is not. Having your coach use a bullhorn is. Having somebody jump onto the course halfway through to pace you is illegal. Having them get into the race on their own and start the race and pace you early in the race is not (as they are actually a competitor even if they have no intention of finishing).

    Perhaps an interesting topic for a future CRN blog post would be whether such assistance should be allowed. Radio communication is an essential part of NASCAR. Maybe the sport of running could adapt to accommodate it, too. I’m not advocating such an adaptation, just offering it as a topic for discussion.

  28. Fred Mertz on April 12th at 6:50 pm

    Obviously this ban will not last. The race directors need our money.

    What?! Are there going to be more volunteers
    (hard to come by already) that will be watching out for people wearing headphones. It’s already hard enough to get people to volunteer to hand out water. Please give me a break and get this stupid article off of this website!!!!!!!!!!

  29. Soozan on April 12th at 6:53 pm

    I’d have to quit running if I gave up my iPod during races.

  30. Blaine Moore (Run to Win) on April 13th at 6:31 am

    What?! Are there going to be more volunteers
    (hard to come by already) that will be watching out for people wearing headphones. It’s already hard enough to get people to volunteer to hand out water. Please give me a break and get this stupid article off of this website!!!!!!!!!!

    Fred, if you read the article at Grandma’s site, you’ll see that it says:

    Those carrying/wearing these devices will be given the option to surrender their music device to a designated race official prior to entering the starting line gates.

    My guess is that volunteers handing out water will just make a note of who has headphones and the race officials at the start will be fairly prominently asking people to surrender whatever they have before going into the starting gate.

    As for “getting the stupid article off of this website” it seems to be a fairly popular one based on the number of people commenting. Just because you don’t like a policy doesn’t mean that the policy shouldn’t be discussed; in fact, that makes it more important to discuss the policy so that (a) those who disagree can be given an opportunity to better understand it or (b) those who make the policy can be made aware that people don’t like it.

  31. massoman on April 13th at 7:17 am

    i like just12finish’s comment. it made my smile amid all the cursing, wailing and gnashing of teeth.

    you’re on par again anne. thanks for bringing this issue to our awareness. i didn’t realize it even was an issue. (guess my music was to loud).

    the reasoning behind the usatf banning portable music players makes perfect sense to me. they want a runner to complete a race without an external device that takes them out of the present moment, a distraction device to modulate boredom, or could be used to modulate the runners pace, like running to some kick-ass, up tempo rock music.

    i see some possible solutions:
    1) ustaf organizes races with two catagories, one allowing ipods and not sanctioned, one without ipods that is sanctioned.
    2) people who wish to run with ipods, etc. boycott the races that don’t allow them. apparently there are LOTS of runners who run with music. if all “music runners” no-showed for grandma’s for just one year, that would send a very strong message and would reinforce the need to consider other options than just banning music devices. this would be hard i know, but what an impact.
    3) venting (read whinning) that because you personally aren’t hurting anybody by running with your music and how will you ever run without it and that’s just unfair and i should be able to do what i want (pause for inhale) appears spoiled and immature and won’t garner any serious attention.

  32. Funky Dung on April 13th at 7:38 pm

    they want a runner to complete a race without an external device that takes them out of the present moment

    personal taste != reason to ban

    a distraction device to modulate boredom

    personal taste != reason to ban

    could be used to modulate the runners pace, like running to some kick-ass, up tempo rock music

    So? I don’t see how that hurts the sport in any way. Either you have natural talent and/or you’ve trained well, or not. Music can’t make up for being ill-prepared. In fact, I don’t believe it can much influence one way or the other, except that a lot of people wouldn’t enjoy running without music.

    I think the more important misuse that’s been brought up here is that portable audio devices could be used to give live or recorded coaching instructions.

  33. thodarumm on April 16th at 9:59 am

    I just saw Blaine’s comment. And so here I go..

    Cardiocoach is a series of audio guded mp3 for interval training. It is primarily designed to alleviate boredom on Cardio machines, any machine.. bike, elliptical, treadmill. These are really awesome workouts. I was floundering about with various exercise videos, step, rebounder etc to get myself into the habit of exercising. Then I found these and I have been running pretty regularly now for about a year and a half and just finished my first half marathon. The best parts are that the music is scored like a movie soundtrack and even without the coach, I absolutely love running to this. The coach is also fantastic. I hate steady state running and these were just a god send for me. The URL is http://www.cardiocoach.com.

    Sorry. .did not mean to go on an dvertising spiel, but couln’t pass up an opportunity when Blaine presented one to me. Yes, I am crazy about these workouts :)… absolutely no affiliation to them, but I do know the Coach electronically and absolutely adore him too. 🙂

  34. thodarumm on April 16th at 10:04 am

    oops, I guess I forgot to actually address Blaine’s surmise. Yes, the coach asks you to change intensity of the cardio activity for various timed intervals which you do either by heart rate monitoring or perceived exertion ( no explicit pace instruction is given). This productr is exclusively designed only to improves one’s cardiovascular capacity, not as a pacer for a race. You cannot use this to run races though.. it is completely interval program. I do use these tracks, but I use my Garmin to pace myself and try to steady state and don’t follow the heart rate changes.

  35. Phaz30 on April 17th at 9:17 pm

    I have just gotten into running (3 months ago), began by walking, then light jogging, and last weekend ran the St. Louis 1/2 marathon. I have tried many times before to take up running, but it was always without success.

    The Nike+ Ipod adapter is what has motivated me to keep going. The feedback that I get from it, as well as the music, have taken me from a true couch potatoe to a person who now enjoys running. I am not a fast runner (11 min/mile) and I always start my races in the back, away from all of the people who still think they are running H.S CC. I don’t care what my times are, and I will NEVER EVER win prize money at a race. But I am now hooked. In addition to the 1/2 marathon over the weekend, I have run 3 5k’s and am signed up for 3 more.

    My point is this, the Ipod has helped me join this “running club”. I was always told that runners are the friendlies group of people there are. That they welcome any and everyone. I used to think that was true until I began to read what some of the other runners on here say. To them, people like me are merely a nuisance to them during their race.

    I guess if this ban holds up, I will never be able to realize my ultimate goal of running a full marathon. For the first time in my life, I feel like it is achievable, but if I will not be able to use my Ipod because of its “advantages”, then I will have to find some other challenge.

    Thanks for letting me vent a bit.

    P.S. ARe there no deaf runners? What about their safety?

  36. Blaine Moore (Run to Win) on April 18th at 11:02 am

    P.S. ARe there no deaf runners? What about their safety?

    There are plenty of deaf runners. In fact, I ran the Boston Marathon with one just a few days ago. Well, I ran the first 5 miles with him and got some drinks afterwards, anyway.

    As for safety, the rule doesn’t mention anything about safety being a reason for the ban. However, having had around a dozen deaf teammates at one time or another, they are safer than somebody with an iPod. Being deaf is not the same as being distracted.Being deaf is all the time, so they are more likely to be used to not hearing something.Deaf people are used to relying upon their eyes more than their earsBeing deaf does make it more dangerous to run in traffic.

    My 20 cents or so, by this point. Heheh. I wrote about being deaf and headphones at Run to Win in response to one of these articles before (Jeanne’s article comparing running with headphones and running with scissors)

  37. 2007 University of Pittsburgh Campus Classic 5K @ Ales Rarus on April 18th at 1:55 pm

    […] long, my actual 5K time would be just under 25 minutes, a personal best. P.S. I used my iPod. What are you going to do about it? Funky […]

  38. 2007 Just a Short Run Half Marathon @ Ales Rarus on April 18th at 1:56 pm

    […] I used my iPod. What are you going to do about it? Funky […]

  39. jank on April 18th at 2:47 pm

    No, seriously – aren’t there enough people out there sitting on their butts that we need to find ways to discourage people from running?

    Talk of the iPod ban is ridiculous. Why the constant need to poop in other people’s food? The same cases – training advantage, distracts from the race, whatever – could be made against running partners and clubs.

    Which is more of a course hazard? One runner, however distracted, or a half-dozen or so chatting and taking up half the road?

    I say that we make things more competitive by banning teams and partners. Everyone should have to run the race alone.

  40. thodarumm on April 19th at 7:07 am

    I just want to say,

    Congrats to phaz30. Oh my, you did a half in 3 months since you started running. In my eyes, you are a great runner.

    Yes, I feel like I should hurry up and finish a marathon before music is banned, but nah.. I have to build endurance. And if I need it bad, I will do it without music.

  41. Tory K on May 10th at 10:29 pm

    YOu know what I love? The people who act like anyone who uses headphones is some sort of blithering idiot. I run with headphones and you know what, if I don’t respond to you it isn’t because I can’t hear you. IT’S BECAUSE MAYBE I DON’T WANT TO TALK TO YOU! Yeah, sometimes when I’m towards the end of the marathon, the wall is staring me down, and I’m feeling like that last Gu may just make an impromptu reentry, I don’t really want to chat.

    I run with ear buds ALL the time. I keep one ear open so I am running safely. I can hear everything around me. The music helps pace me, relaxes me, pumps me up, entertains me,
    distracts me, and I enjoy it.

    It is one thing to not want to use them yourself, but what I don’t get is why people who choose not to use them act like those of us who do are idiots. I have run full half marathons without music. I’ve run much of my full marathon a few times without music. (Never listened to it the entire marathon because I do enjoy talking to people.)

    Would I not enter a marathon that banned them? Possibly, depending on the field. I ran a 30k recently that had such a small field that rarely was anyone even within talking distance. That was a long 2+ hours alone on the the road.

    The RnRs aren’t banning them at this point, except (if I recall) for the elites. Honestly, I don’t think they should be banned for the general field. I’m not winning just because I’ve got a podcast playing in my ear. I also think it’ll be pretty difficult to actually enforce in the really large races.

  42. Mom hates this Blog » Urbandale 4th of July 5K on July 4th at 4:58 pm

    […] note, a considerable portion of the field was wearing headphones. Not one injury reported… according to some, we all should have died or at least ended up sterile or something. reddit_url = […]

  43. Ian B on November 4th at 2:56 am

    The rhythmic motions of running are musical in every sense. Some people are insensitive to music and sound, others are extremely sensitive to it and are inspired by it. The difference is personal. Banning music is the sort of thing that extreme fundamentalist religious movements like the Taliban do. There is no place for such ignorant discrimination in our civilization. Participants and spectators should boycott all such events and protest this violation of civil rights.

  44. Blaine Moore (Run to Win) on November 4th at 6:13 am

    I agree that some people are more inspired by others and that people respond differently to music than others.

    However, how can you possibly think that it is a violation of civil rights to ban head phones? Sorry, but that’s the most ridiculous argument I’ve heard for headphones yet.

    You do not have the right to run in a track or road race. You have the privilege. Road races are not regulated by the government, they are put on (mostly) by volunteers who selflessly spend their time organizing, fund raising, and working their events.

    Their first concern is that everybody stay safe as they compete in their event, and their second concern is that they raise enough money to benefit whatever charitable organization is receiving the funds raised by the race.

    Your race entry fee will sometimes cover the costs of all of the fees and licenses that the race entails, but not always. In many cases, the race entry fees only cover a portion of the cost of running the race and the rest of the money is raised through donations from the local community.

    The governing body for the sport here in the United States has mandated that any event that they sanction be headphone free. By complying with the rules, races are able to avoid an exorbitant increase in the costs to purchase the insurance that they need to put the race on.

    There are no civil liberties being violated here. While you have every right to boycott those races, I have no intention of doing so because I do not see anything wrong. I don’t personally care if somebody wears headphones (as long as they don’t endanger myself or the other runners) but I do not think that you have the right to wear them just because it gives you a competitive advantage.

  45. brent on April 5th at 5:24 pm

    Did the vancouver 2007 full mararthon ban headphones? or is the first time this year. I want to wear my headphones this year due to not wanting to hear myself grunt for possibly 4 hrs. I am aware that the ban is on’ however, it says not recomended to wear headphones after the the long list of strollers roller blades and headphones is included in that list. Regards, Brent.

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