Some of you may have noticed that in the recent Cork BHAA 'Cork to Cobh' race, there were 17 people omitted from the final results as they were wearing headphones. Out of a total field of 802 runners, it might seem like a small problem but it goes to show that it is still an issue for the organisers of road races. In a previous poll, those for and against such a ban were pretty evenly split. However, it's not really up to runners to decide whether they should wear headphones or not. The Cork BHAA have banned them for insurance reasons and if people don't like that then nobody is forcing them to run in the race.
In the USA, there was a recent story about one of the top runners in a Marathon who was disqualified for wearing an iPod. Part of the story is below...
Second Lakefront Marathon winner disqualified for iPod use..........By Tom Held of the Journal Sentinel ..Oct. 7, 2009
Lakefront Marathon officials have disqualified a second women's winner because the runner from Lombard, Ill., tuned into her iPod in the late stages of the run to Veterans Park, Race Director Kristine Hinrichs confirmed Wednesday morning. The unprecedented action appears to elevate Corina Canitz of Brookfield into the top spot, although two other women beat her to the finish line on Sunday.The fastest woman, Cassie Peller, a 23-year-old student at Marquette University, was disqualified shortly after the race for accepting aid - a water bottle - from a friend outside of the official water stations. That made Jennifer Goebel, 27, the winner, but only for a couple days. Race photos showed Goebel with an iPod tucked into the waistband of her shorts and she admitted using the device in violation of a USA Track and Field rule that applied only to elite runners in the Lakefront Marathon. Runners competing for USATF championships and or cash prizes are not allowed to use electronic devices. A USATF official said the disqualification of Goebel may be a first in the country, although the rule banning iPods has long been a source of great debate and consternation among runners. The USATF relaxed the rule late last year, allowing race directors to decide whether to ban the devices at races.The change essentially allowed most mid-pack runners to use a musical boost, but kept in place the ban for elites. Goebel, a massage therapist from Lombard, Ill., said she believes she should not be disqualified and her time of 3:02:50 and her ranking should remain in the official results."If they're going to disqualify me for having an iPod they should disqualify everyone who had one," she said. "It's just a little ridiculous. I went there to have a fun race with my friends."Goebel said she is willing to give up the prize money, which would be a $500 penalty for tuning into a mix of classic rock, techno and alternative between miles 19 and 21."I wasn't listening to it earlier in the race," she said. "I wasn't going to put the music on unless I thought I needed it."If you're bored, it pumps you up a little bit. Sometimes, on a long training run, I'll bring it along for the last half hour. When I run marathons sometimes I carry it and never put it on."The 3:02:50 she ran on Sunday is Goebel's second-fastest marathon time, well off the 2:52 she scored in her debut in the Chicago Marathon in 2005. Goebel's infraction was detected in a picture shared online and pointed out by posters debating Peller's disqualification on the Badgerland Striders web forum. A number of runners complained that Peller had been unfairly singled out by race officials, and that Goebel also deserved to be disqualified. If Goebel's disqualification stands, the victory would fall to Canitz, a 42-year-old mother of four who won the Lakefront in 2007 and 2008. On Sunday, she trailed Peller by nearly two minutes and finished more than a minute behind Goebel. Her 3:04:20 was good enough for third place, then second...and now, maybe first.
BBC........and only last week, there was a report in a BBC podcast asking whether listening to music while running makes any difference. This is a seperate issue as to whether they should be banned or not.You can find the podcast HERE......fast forward and listen to the section between 7:30 and 14:30 minutes.