The debate continues: Should Mp3 players be banned in races?

The debate continues: Should MP3 players be banned at races?

Certain event-specific rules have started ban iPods and other Mp3 players from races. Should race organizers hold the right to enforce such ban? The issue is not clear cut.

I discovered an interesting debate going on at the Runners World UK website about certain event-specific rules that ban the use of iPods and other Mp3 players from races.

Now the question they have raised is, should race organizers hold the right to enforce such ban?

There are arguments on both sides:

  • Mp3 players are anti-social and part of racing is being part of a community, therefore music and headphones spoil the community spirit.
  • Many runners will tend to zone out when listening to music making them unaware of what is going on around them. This may cause you to impede other runners and perhaps even be life threatening.
  • Many runners in mass participant events will even stop dead in their tracks to change a tune, totally unaware they are blocking other runners.
  • One individual mentions how they went out of their way to change their schedule and travel to support a friend running a 10K. Cheering wildly at three separate spots along the course, she was completely oblivious due to blaring music in her ears.
  • This point was echoed by a race commentator who put in a lot of effort into identifying runners from their numbers so he could give them a boost as they crossed the finish line. Unfortunately his troubles were wasted on many runner in the field because they were wearing the earphones.
  • On the other side of the argument…

  • If used at sensible background levels, people will be more aware of their surroundings, reducing the number of incidents caused by music.
  • If you wear earphones, you have the responsibility of sticking to a basic set of guidelines. If participants act responsibly why the need for a ban?
  • Many runners don’t expect in-depth conversation during a race, so what is the harm of wearing earphones?
  • Some are turned off by the heavy breathing of a competitive event anduse music to block this out.
  • Music helps many athletes achieve an uplifting experience that leads to them picking up their pace.
  • If earphones are banned where will it stop? Will the banning of watches be next because people get distracted because they are checking their times?
  • Isn’t it a choice for the individual to ensure they understand the safety risks when they listen to music during a run?
  • Just because someone is wearing an earpiece doesn’t necessarily mean they are listening to anything. One runner claims he finds it difficult to read his watch in the middle of an event, so uses a device that interfaces with their iPod and feeds race data directly to the iPod display screen.
  • My thoughts on this issue are that that everyone considering listening to music in their next race should go out now and purchase the Timex IRONMAN iControl watch which links to your iPod and lets you control it through the watch eliminating the need to ever stop dead in the middle of a race.

    But what do you think?

    The Runner’s World UK website have an active thread running where you can voice your opinion.

    Why not have your say? or read the full article here.

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