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!!!
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