I heard rumors last week that the USATF had changed their stance on headphones, and they have finally published some confirmation.
Headphones will still not be allowed in championship racing, but personal audio devices may be used at race director discretion as long as they do not allow communication. So iPods will be okay for most runners, but cell phones will still be banned.
The amendment is to Rule 144.3, and now reads as follows:
“(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.”
Be sure to check with your individual race directors about whether iPods and other devices are allowed in their races, but there is no longer a blanket rule that they are expected to enforce on the matter. I know that this will make quite a few people happy.
That said, I will continue to race without them.