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Poll: should the use of audio equipment in races be banned?

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Should the use of audio equipment with earphones be banned during races - as proposed by UK Athletics?

Poll ended at Wed Dec 05, 2007 12:12 pm

Total votes : 12

Poll: should the use of audio equipment in races be banned?

Postby pauljhalford » Wed Nov 28, 2007 12:12 pm

AW wants your comments on proposed UKA rule re use of audio equipment using earphones in races

Among a raft of changes that UK Athletics are proposing for inclusion in its 2008 rulebook, is one that outlaws the use of audio equipment using earphones during races (see ... rticle-28/)

AW wants to hear your views on this and invites you to vote in our poll.

Should the use of MP3 players and the like be banned during races for safety reasons? Or do you believe that they pose no health and safety risk and represent a useful racing aid?

Note that we plan to print a selection of comments in the magazine so please advise if your thoughts are not for publication.
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Postby tlimvvo2max » Wed Nov 28, 2007 1:46 pm

On balance, although I can see they're a potential irritant for other runners (including myself) I don't think a ban is necessary.
I strongly dislike their use in road training as there are obvious safety issues, but in the more controlled environment of a race these issues should be much less important.
I note that ultra-runner Yiannis Kouros and some recent endurance world record attempts on the track make use of up-tempo tannoyed music, so if it's allowed for the elite there would seem no logical reason to ban it on performance-enhancing grounds for the generality of road runners.
In any case, my experience is that it's more a middle or back of pack thing in UK road races - I usually finish in the top 5 per cent of races and haven't yet been beaten by someone wearing one!
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Postby usedtoit33 » Wed Nov 28, 2007 8:29 pm

I think it's far more dangerous to wear them during ordinary road training than in a stewarded, road-cleared race.

I think I read something similar about banning wearing walkmans in the US which has also gone down like a lead balloon.

I don't get what the rationale for such a ban is? Blaring out music might be a bit irritating to some people, but I can't see how it adds or detracts to performance or race organising in any way.
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Postby Droitrob » Wed Nov 28, 2007 9:48 pm

I think the whole thing is a bit petty really. Some people get pshyced up by struuting aroung, some by staring some through music. Each to their own really.
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Postby michaelw » Wed Nov 28, 2007 11:00 pm

I think they are a danger. The athlete cannot hear traffic nor can he hear marshals instructions. It would be best if runners did not use these in races. However the Rule is unenforceable. Many of these devices are very small and can even be concealed in sun glasses. Surely athletes are responsible for their own safety. If this rule comes into force could a race organiser become legally liable if he fails to bar a runner with an MP3 from his race.
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Postby sleady » Wed Nov 28, 2007 11:16 pm

Looks like we're just following the good ole US of A as usual.

NY Times

I don't see how it's enforceable, but I think it's right for safety reasons. Athletes being responsible for their own safety is one thing, no win, no fee parasites coming after a race organiser because someone got killed whilst wearing headphones and wants someone to blame is something else.
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Postby Silver Fox » Thu Nov 29, 2007 10:45 am

Paula Radcliffe endorses the Nike iPod thingie and I recall hearing an interview with her where she said she wore headphones training but would never do so in a race.

I suppose there is the danger aspect (out on the roads especially and even in races to a degree with other runners weaving around all over the place) but I would say it's fine to wear headphones training as long as you're careful and wear them when there's no traffic around.

In races, I would probably support a headphones ban - although it does also sound very petty at the same time.
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Postby themacster » Tue Dec 04, 2007 5:45 pm

Yes, definitely ban them for races. They reduce the runner's awareness of traffic and marshals' instructions and are therefore a danger. A race organiser has to demonstrate he has taken all reasonable steps in stopping runners wearing them in a race, but if a runner still elects to wear one having been told not to, he's accepted responsibility. Can't stop people wearing them training though.
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