Thursday, November 01, 2007

Banning headphones

As many of you know, USA Track & Field passed a rule banning headphones in races for which their organization participates. This has combined with many races over the past year which have stepped up their education and enforcement of the headphone ban.

I completely understand both sides of this issue, but I have to say I think this ban is just plain stupid!

I don't really want to delve into my thoughts of "elite" runners vs. "back-of-the-pack" runners on this issue, but I do see this a HUGE confrontation between these two segments in our sport.

There are so many other things that race directors need to concentrate on, and policing headphones should not be one of them.

Also, if people listening to their music gets them off the couch and involved with our sport in an attempt to get/stay healthy...I say let's not interfere with that!

I know that people say they have seen people drop their ipods and stop in the middle of the pack at the start of the race to pick it up. But guess what, I've seen people without headphones come to a dead stop in the middle of a pack to tie their laces, or talk to their family, or open their Gu.

I know people say that headphone wearers cannot hear instructions. But guess what, the only instructions a person ever gets during a race are at the start and finish, when most people do not have their music playing...or people can even adjust the volume so they hear music AND what people are saying on the course.

I have seen plenty of runners...both headphone wearing and without headphones, cut across other runners at water stops. That's just a matter of people not paying attention, not if they are wearing headphones.

Finally, this year's Chicago Marathon was probably the biggest fiasco I have ever seen associated with a race. And guess what, the problems had nothing to do with whether or not people were wearing headphones! Maybe, as directors, we should ensure runners are taken care of on the course and not care much about if they are listening to the Foo Fighters or Frank Sinatra!

Folllow this link to a story in the NY Times about the issue (hat tip to Linda Jones!) and see what people have to say on both sides of the story. And check out the comments section. I think some comments really underline the "elite" vs. "rest-of-us" attitude.

I know there are people who vehemently disagree with me on this issue...and that is fine with me...but whatever you believe, feel free to post a comment!!!


Anonymous said...

Wow, I didn't know they disqualified 30 runners at the Grandma's marathon. Looks like they are going to get strict in the future. I don't race with Ipods, I just train with them so it won't bother me but I feel for the people who race with them. I think people should be able to race with them if they want. I personally like to hear the roar of the crowd when I race.

For the runner that said he can hide his shuffle, what about the wire going to his ears? That would be hard to hide unless he had wireless buds or long hair. The organization can always disqualify someone from the pictures. They can get a picture of you wearing the Ipod and then from your number contact you and state you have been disqualified.


Anonymous said...

This subject was one of the segments on The Today Show this morning. The New York marthon is this weekend and they had the director as one of the guests. Ear phones are banned but what I got out of her remarks was that the ban would not be enforced. I'm from the old school(hell I'm old) and I don't run with music. Tried it years ago but just didn't like it. Besides that I do a lot of running on county roads and I want to hear any cars or trucks coming up behind me. One of the things that was pointed out on the Today show was that at the Chicago marathon people with ear phones wouldn't have been able to hear officals telling them that the race had been stopped. I couldn't hear 'cause my ears were full of water by the time it was cancelled. To me this i-pod ban is just another example of some folks trying to think they can make a perfect world through legislation. Someone needs to tell 'em it ain't gonna happen. I still drink water from my garden hose.
Tim Mu

PS. Pam are you sure thats cheering you hear?

Anonymous said...

Tim Mu., Yes, they were cheering for me. I heard them say "Go Pamela Go" so I'm not hearing things. A couple of mexicans even said it was a beautiful name, so there Tim! lol. Just wait until I see you next run. I'm starting to get my energy back so watch out! hehehe. Keep walking Tim, haha


Anonymous said...

I personally ran with one of the runners who got DQ'd at this year's Grandmas Marathon. Luckily-he could have given a squirt, cuz he already had qualified for Boston. At any rate-he did send the race director a few choice emails and debated the randomness of the rule enforcement.

BTW, I belive it is Nike that now manufactures a hat with built in speakers-no wires showing.

As one who also was at Chicago this year-if you can't figure out what's going on, then you have bigger problems then ear buds in your ears.

Bill said...

I'm a back of the pack runner and a new runner. I may someday post a "placing time" in some obscure race where no one shows up in my bracket (LOL) but that's not why I'm running anyway. I like everything about the sport until now. This headphone ban is regrettable and short-sighted. I agree with Tim's comments and I doubt that the headphone ban will make rude runners less rude. I just ignore them anyway...and focus on my tunes and the pleasure of being able to "run" at my age (55)! So if you are a proponent of the headphone ban you won't have to worry about me running into you...I'm way behind you anyway...LOL.

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