Every race I have ever had the joy of racing in had one common rule. NO IPODS ALLOWED. It is not a rule I really like, but it is a rule and really has had no effect on any of my races. I occasionally see people wearing ear buds while racing, but they are usually ones I am passing. The penalty for using ear buds or iPods is DQ. Here is the actual rule from the USAT website:
"(f) The visible possession or use by athletes of video, audio, or communications devices in the competition area. The Games Committee for an LDR event may allow the use of portable listening devices not capable of receiving communication; however, those competing in Championships for awards, medals, or prize money may not use such devices."
SO basically the rule says if you are an elite runner (podium or prize winning category), you can’t use them. If you are a regular runner (me) then they can be allowed but it is up to the discretion of the race director. The reason for this rule is two –fold in my humble opinion. 1. Ear buds prevent you hearing instructions, vehicles, or other runners around you, which is unsafe. 2. Music can provide a pacing mechanism that can give you advantage.
All this is brought up because there were recent DQ handed out at the Lakefront Marathon in Wisconsin. In the women’s division the 1st and 2nd place finisher were both disqualified. The first place woman accepted water from a friend outside the official water areas. The second place woman was seen wearing an iPod as she ran.
Now, many people are upset by the race director enforcing these rules, according to the comments at the end of the article, saying it is a stupid rule, which it may be. A Rule is a rule. An iPod is not needed to run a race. All you need are clothes, shoes and a race number.
I know when I am out training; I do wear my iPod 95% of the time. I know that when certain songs come on, my pace is easier to keep. I know that sometimes when I want to stop, I tell myself to wait until this song is over, then a new song comes on and it can help me continue my run, so I will never believe that music doesn’t give someone a boost.
Plain and simple, know the rules and follow them. We do not have to like all the rules and if you don’t then do not race in that particular race. There are plenty of iPod friendly races out there, just like there are stroller friendly races, you just have to look for them, but please don’t whine about the consequences of breaking a rule and getting caught.